Home-School Connections: Literacy and Culture

BY Meghan Lampert

Chatham Elementary School

Project Description

Book bags including bilingual books (English and home language) will be sent home each week. These book bags will allow English Language Learners to read at home with their families. As a shared reading experience, parents can read aloud in their native language and students can read in English. This project will validate parents and make them feel like they are a part of their children’s education. Often parents of ELLs feel they cannot contribute because of a lack of English proficiency. This creates a disconnect between home and school. In the school, the book bins would allow each student to have his/her own unique colored bin for books at his/her reading level. This system would make efficient use of the time students have in their ESL class. Students will read- independently, with partners, and with the teacher- in class, using readily accessible books at their own levels. In addition, the teacher will guide lessons around multicultural folktales, involving close reading techniques, comprehension strategies, targeted discussions, and writing applications. Multicultural folktales can help students to appreciate human diversity, while appreciating the common elements in folktales across cultures as well. They are at once a “window into other cultures” and a “mirror” that allows clearer reflection of one’s own culture. Students will see themselves and their cultures represented in these texts, increasing engagement and motivation.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

1. Surveys of parents and students
2. Running records and other reading assessments of students (DIBELs, MAP, ACCESS, etc.)
3. Observation/ Teacher surveys- Involvement of ELL families at school events, in school activities

Benefit to the students and the school

1. Improved literacy of ELL students
2. Increased parental engagement by ELL families
3. Increased engagement of ELL students
4. Enhanced awareness of others’ cultures

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)

This school year: February2017- June 2017
Subsequent school years: September-June