The EL child and the classroom library (Part I)
I know the picture I am about to paint is not difficult to imagine because I am sure this is familiar to a lot of you.
Imagine a new student joins your classroom this week. This is his first week in the USA. He is excited to be in your 4th grade classroom. You can tell by his smile. He attended school in his home country. His English level is still of a beginner but he is eager to use the few words he knows.
Now picture this. It's time for independent reading. Your classroom library offers so many great choices for those lucky 4th graders. Now picture this new child in your classroom library trying to find books that he can read during independent reading. So here comes the questions:
Does your classroom library have a wide selection of books that include simple pattern books such as Piggie and Elephant by Mo Willems? Or Eric Carle Jr.? Yes. Regardless of the grade, every classroom should have easier pattern books otherwise our underlying assumption is that everyone is reading at grade level.
Are there books on audio or online that this child can tap into? Do you know those resources or do you know someone in your school that can help you discover and set up those additional resources?
Does this child have books in his home language? What are the opportunities in your classroom for children to bring their home world into school?
I'm just going to let these questions simmer for a while. There are more questions I would love to share but for now my invitation to you is to look through your classroom library this week and ask yourself, "Is my classroom library an open invitation for everyone regardless of levels or language?
Let's talk more later this week. Happy Sunday!