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Bilingual E-Library Project

Bilingual E-Library Project Uplifts Students, Families in Aldine ISD

by Kay Medina


U.S. Department of Commerce Visit

If you have ever struggled with time management, you could relate to “La Placa de Mis Suenos.” Illustrated by UHD Fine Arts student Makaila Whitmire, the story details a young boy’s struggle with math, time management, and his dream of becoming a police officer. The tale is one of many created through the UHD Bilingual E-Library project, a partnership between UHD and Aldine ISD, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The innovative program, spearheaded by Dr. Maria Bhattacharjee, Director of the E-Library Program and Dr. Irene Chen, Technology Director and UHD Professor of Urban Education, turns parents’ dreams for their children into digital stories. While students are taught reading comprehension and literacy skills, families are trained in technology that will enable them to join the workforce.

In Phase I, students and families from two pilot schools, Black and Bussey elementaries, started the writing process for the digital stories. Soon, five additional Aldine ISD campuses joined the line-up, completing the books for the e-library. "During Phase II, we identified two priority areas that matter the most for Hispanic Student Illustrationsfamilies in the seven elementary schools in Aldine ISD,” said Dr. Maria Bhattacharjee. “First is their children's success in school so they can become professionals. Second, the mothers’ dreams of becoming business owners.”

The program is showing remarkable results. Parental engagement has increased tenfold, and students who once struggled with reading and writing are succeeding academically.   As the program moves to the third phase, families are invited to join a summer reading club, which is focused on developing a love for literacy and writing with purpose. In addition, participating parents have access to training courses via the Bilingual E-library's YouTube channel, a “global classroom,” and a “virtual space for learning and interaction” where families can learn the English language and connect with other participating families in the program.

“Building communities in the seven schools will allow the UHD Bilingual E-Library project to meet the needs of Hispanic families, build a better future in education, strengthen our economy, and secure our democratic institutions,” said Bhattacharjee. “Working together, we are unstoppable.”


About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit