When Abu Bakr al-Rabeeah and his family arrived from Syria to the Canadian city of Edmonton, his to-do list was dauntingly long: English lessons, learning how to cope with the long, bitterly cold winters and how to best get around his strange new home. But the teenager had a secret dream, which he confided to a teacher. One day he would tell his story, challenging those who saw his family only as refugees, defined by the war they had survived. Eight months later, he became a published author. His book, Homes: A Refugee Story, is set to be officially released on Saturday 12 May by a Calgary book publisher, after being self-published last year.
For decades, two factors drove the demand for dual-language education: a desire to preserve native languages and recognition that dual-language learning can boost overall achievement for English-language learners. Now, a growing number of states also see bilingualism as key to accessing the global economy, as evidenced by the surging popularity of the "seal of biliteracy" — a special recognition for graduates who demonstrate fluency in two or more languages. The popularity of the seal is spurring even more demand for dual-language-education programs.
In this essay about her National Honor Society Scholarship, college freshman Jenny Rodriguez writes, "Throughout my schooling, I always worked hard and aimed high — traits I see in many immigrant families. I found ways of helping others in my community, volunteering with church, and playing the role of tutor, translator and advocate for students who had experiences similar to mine. I knew I could help them in ways that my parents would have wanted to help me. The day I won the National Honor Society Scholarship changed everything for my family."
Here are 18 ways that you can help support them in their journey. Not every English Learner will need all of these scaffolds. Some will need more than others. And once they no longer need the scaffold, remember to release it and let them soar!
Anna Du was walking along Castle Island's beach in South Boston when she noticed plastic scattered on the shoreline. She reached down to pick it up, and quickly realized there was many more tiny pieces than she could handle. "When I realized how many pieces there were, it seemed impossible," says Du, who was in sixth grade at the time. But Du approached the problem like any good scientist — first, by doing a little research. That's how she learned that 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year — and that's in addition to the whopping 150 million metric tons that are already there. Then she got to work building something that could help solve the issue: a remote-operated vehicle, or ROV, that can move through water and spot plastics on the ocean floor.
If you're looking for fictional works about Latinx experiences, look no further. This is a strong year for middle grade, as the 12 books below prove. YA fans have lots of genres to choose from, too, including magical realism, fantasy, contemporary, and more.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the following excerpted 2018 SLJ reviews of nonfiction and poetry titles, written by or about Latinx people, for little ones, tweens, and teens.
Ann Braden didn't mean to start a movement. The former middle school teacher, whose debut middle grade novel, The Benefits of Being an Octopus, will be published in September, simply had a stack of books from a recent conference and remembered a recent Donalyn Miller Nerdy Book Club post. It's not complicated, Miller wrote, kids need access to books. With that inspiration, Braden decided to offer her stack of books to a teacher or librarian whose students needed them. In early May, she posted a picture of the books on Twitter, asked teachers or librarians to reply if they wanted a chance to win them, and added the hashtag #KidsNeedBooks. She figured she would randomly select a winner, ship the books off, and that would be the end of it. Only that's not exactly what happened.
A group of North Carolina parents walk into Irvin Elementary School in Concord, armed with homemade tamales, tacos, enchiladas, pozole and their children — little Allen and Briana, Alison and Alexander — in tow, for an all-Spanish-language Cinco de Mayo teacher appreciation party. They may have given their children English names, but these parents struggle with English. Astrid Emily Francis, an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, hopes the party feels welcoming; for some of the immigrant parents it will be the first time they have walked into the school. Because of the language barrier, coming to school can be intimidating, but tonight they’ll serve and eat with the teachers. They might even play Spanish B-I-N-G-O, and the parents will help the teachers find the right pictures on the cards.
President Donald Trump thanked teachers for their dedication in a short speech in the historic East Room of the White House on Wednesday. He was speaking to a crowd of renowned teachers and their family members. The teachers had all received their state's highest honor in 2018. The National Teacher of the Year, Mandy Manning, stood behind Trump as he delivered his remarks. Manning teaches newly arrived immigrant and refugee students in Washington state. She told Education Week that she had her students write letters to the White House to share their stories—from bureaucratic red tape splitting up families to being told to "go back to Africa."