My students are English Language Learners in a poor neighborhood of a southern city. They are all from Latin American countries. Many have parents who are illiterate in Spanish and do not yet speak English, but all of their parents share a common goal: to provide their children with safety and education.
My immigrant students have the will and ability to be peaceful and creative leaders in their new country, the United States.
They share their parents' grit and bravery.
Many of my students have had little education in their home countries. Therefore, their literacy skills in Spanish are very low. This gap in their education hinders their English literacy development. My students need more high interest, inspiring books that they can read. Trying to attend school in a new country with a new culture and language is exhausting. Add to that trying to learn to read with books that are too juvenile for their age, and school becomes a grind. Help me, please, to provide my truly brave and inspiring students with texts that engage them.
I hope that books like, Who is Cesar Chavez and ABC of Guatemala, will help them to know that although they fled violence and poverty, they also come from a deep and heroic culture.
I hope they will use the books not only to grow their literacy skills, but also to grow their self-confidence. I hope they believe themselves worthy of being, not just survivors of violence and poverty, but leaders in America. I hope they become peaceful and creative leaders in America who will not just survive, but thrive here and by thriving help others in the diverse American community. A classroom library that helps them learn to read in English with high interest books will be one strong tool for their path to becoming successful in America.
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