Imagine going through an entire day not being able to effectively communicate. Imagine sitting in a room full of people and not having any idea what anyone is saying. Imagine moving to a completely new country, where you are unfamiliar with the culture. The students that I teach each day do not have to imagine - this is their reality.
English Language Learners face a unique set of challenges in the classroom as they strive to learn academic content in addition to English language skills.
The English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program provides support for English language acquisition and development of skills in listening, reading, speaking, and writing through content based instruction. There are over 300 students in the county that receive these services, and this number continues to increase each year. The students that I teach come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and speak several different languages. Many of them are new to the United States and have never been exposed to the English language. All of my students receive free breakfast and lunch and many do not have access to resources to further their English language development at home.
Children's literature can be used as an awesome tool to help enhance learning. However, much of the children's literature that students are often subjected to is not representative of the diverse world in which we live. It is important that my students are able to recognize themselves in the literature that is in my classroom. In order to avoid the single story and create a classroom environment that is both welcoming and inclusive, I am requesting a variety of books to create a multicultural classroom library.
A diverse selection of reading material is needed to represent the variety of cultural backgrounds that are present in my classroom.
Multicultural texts provide a wide range of benefits to students. Research suggests that students experience increased improvement in literacy skills when culturally relevant texts are used (Kelley, Siwatu, Tost, & Martinez, 2015). Additionally, culturally relevant texts promote positive social identity and refute negative stereotypes (Czopp, Kay, & Cheryan, 2015). Students will use these multicultural texts for independent reading. They will be placed on shelves so that they are easily accessible by students. The texts will also be used for read-alouds and as mentor texts for teaching reading comprehension skills such as sequencing , cause and effect, and making inferences.
The donations to this project will not only allow my students the opportunity to see themselves in the books that they are exposed to but will also allow them to enhance their literacy skills as well!
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