My students are funny, creative, energetic dreamers who live on the west side of a large city in Arizona, in a neighborhood school that serves a variety of Title I students.
Most of my students are struggling readers who are waiting to find a life- changing book that will turn them into avid readers!
About half of my students come into our fourth grade classroom well below grade level in reading. While their families are supportive, the majority of students do not visit the library beyond our school's, and many have never read a chapter book on their own before.
Students love reading when they can connect on a deeper level to the themes of the book. In the novel, "Crenshaw," by Katherine Applegate, the protagonist is a fifth grader struggling with the trauma of hunger and is on the brink of homelessness, while living with loving and working parents - a tough subject that many of my students have potentially faced. Through reading this novel, the class can safely explore and discuss a topic that has affected many in our community.
By connecting a real-life topic through literature, students will also learn compassion, empathy, and understanding towards classmates who face similar problems, while those who have been affected will feel safe sharing.
Teaching with social justice is a passion, and the most effective way I can do that is through carefully selected literature.
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