Making Second Language a First Priority

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  • Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 17:04:49 -0400

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National Children's Folksong Repository
Integrate Literacy, Music, and Technology into the classroom.
was founded by Ellie Wen during her sophomore year at Harvard-Westlake High 
School in California. While volunteering at Las Familias del Pueblo, a 
community center in downtown Los Angeles, Ellie saw individuals struggling 
with pronunciation in an English as a Second Language class. She decided to 
build a website that would provide free texts and audio clips to help 
students around the world with their language skills. Through the efforts 
of other students and faculty, has become an 
award-winning, critically acclaimed online library and language lab.

Making Second Language a First Priority

Ellie Wen is a juggernaut. She writes, acts, sings and studies French,
Spanish and Chinese at high levels.

Earlier this month, Ellie won the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, a
national award for teens who have made lasting contributions to their
communities. She was honored for creating, a free website 
that matches
respected English texts with sound files so that people learning the language
around the world can hear it spoken as they read along. The site has had more
than 89,000 hits, with around 2,500 a day in a recent observation. includes thousands of famous speeches, poems and literary
excerpts that are copyright-free. Sources include William Shakespeare,
Sojourner Truth, John F. Kennedy and many others. The voices on the site 
come from
more than a hundred volunteers and spur-of-the-moment recruits.


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