Gloria Rojas, Bilingual Speech/Language Pathologist
Gloria is originally from Cuba and is a native Spanish speaker. A bilingual speech-language pathologist, and songwriter, Gloria Rojas is the creative force behind “Manitas” In Motion, LLC. Gloria graduated with M.S. degrees in Speech-Language Pathology and Interdisciplinary Studies in Bilingual/Bicultural Education. Her 30 year career as a bilingual speech-language pathologist was fueled by her interest in and dedication to understanding of the relationship between first or second language acquisition and a child’s early literacy skills.
She immigrated to the United States with her twin brother at the age of seven where she learned much of her English through the use of music and dance. Currently, she works as a bilingual speech and language pathologist at a special education cooperative in the northwest Chicago suburban area. She diagnoses students of Hispanic descent ages three to twenty one, who are struggling academically. She has taught at the college level and conducts language development and literacy workshops throughout the United States and in Mexico. She encourages the use of music, dance/movement, and sign language to teach language to children age birth through eight years. She has been an advocate of using multiple modalities to help English Language Learners acquire a solid language foundation in their native language so they can successfully transfer these skills to a second language.
Her company “Manitas”In Motion, LLC is dedicated to the development of leading edge children’s educational products designed specifically to accelerate the acquisition of a first and second language maintaining a level of sensitivity to the child’s linguistic and cultural background. Chakuchukuchà, is part of a multi-faceted, multimedia, and multilingual approach to early childhood learning of language, using music, movement, and American Sign Language (ASL). Her approach promotes the learning of phonological awareness skills as well as language and early literacy. These 32 easy-to-teach, easy-to-learn, Latin music and movement-based bilingual songs are perfect for at home, in the car, or in the classroom. Get the best of both worlds, and watch your child delight in singing and signing to their bilingual beats.
So….if you want to learn a second language, why not learn the alphabet while DANCING a Salsa rhythm? Why not learn how to count from one to ten while DANCING to a Bachata? Why not learn the zoo animals to a Bomba, or the farm animals to a Cumbia?”
“I would not have been able to achieve this CD without the encouragement and support of my family, friends and colleagues. I’d also like to acknowledge Lannie Battistini, producer and Neysa Rodriguez Battistini at Hands in Motion Music Productions and AD Media for helping me “make this happen”. Lannie is the creative genius, award winning composer, arranger, pianist and ghost writer of these adorable Latin rhythms and songs. It was through him that I was able to connect with my featured guest artist, “Remi”, best known for his daily children’s program in national TV Station in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the last 10 years.
After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, many Cubans were fled to the United States. Many thought it was something temporary and hoped to return soon afterwards, but when it became apparent that the Revolution was going to continue, more Cubans left the island. In 1961 Gloria and her twin brother Bob, went to the United States through “Operation Peter Pan”, designed to get Cuban children out of the country due to, among other things, unfounded fears that the government would take them from their parents. This US government sponsored program, in conjunction with the Catholic Welfare Bureau, eventually transported approximately 14,000 Cuban children to the United States and placed them in foster homes until their parents could leave the island
Gloria and Bob were one of the youngest of the “Peter Pans”. They were placed in a home in Albuquerque, New Mexico with a family who spoke no Spanish and they spoke no English. As painful as this process could be for the two homesick and confused seven year-olds, the experience would provide many wonderful opportunities and lay a foundation not only for English language development but an appreciation of the joys of second language learning. John and Pat Wimberg were instrumental in providing a language-rich environment with multiple opportunities to learn English. John played the guitar and immediately started teaching the young twins English through music. One of the first songs they learned was “Yes, We Have No Bananas”. They were encouraged to participate in plays at school, one based on a book called “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”. They sang, read books, camped, hiked and fished in the mountains, put on plays, wrote notes and letters on Saturday mornings, played with the dog named “Sheridan”, ate strange new vegetables, and learned English in a really FUN way. Since then, Gloria has been an advocate for using multiple modalities to help children acquire language. She vowed that she would help other children who immigrated to the United States learn English using these exciting methods.