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Music Is The Universal Language

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They are known as the By George Singers. Students at Washington Elementary School in Moline who are members of a school choir.  Many of the children  are learning English as their second language. Twenty five percent of children in kindergarten at the school are English Language learners.

Mary Tallitsch directs the choir, and uses several techniques to help students learn English. Much of the music involves rhyme and repetition. Patterns are repeated over and over again so that children improve their fluency in English. There are students in the class from a number of cultures, including Spanish, Moroccan, and French.

The choir also sings in Hebrew and other languages. Mary also thinks it's a great way for the American students to enrich their lives by being exposed to music from other cultures.

There is quite a bit of movement in the class. Tallitsch believes that singing in a choir also helps to improve a child's self esteem. They become part of a social group.

There are about fifty children at Washington Elementary who are learning English as their second language. In the Moline School District, there are more than 700 students whose primary language is not English.