Integrating Culturally Relevant Literature in the English Classroom


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Sustained research (such as “Connecting Students to Culturally Relevant Texts”, ), and other such studies, have explored and validated the fact that cultural-based literature is pivotal in the initial stages of a student’s “learning to read”. Prior knowledge helps students construct bridges that help in their making predictions and outcomes about poems, stories, essays or dramas read in the English classroom. Reading for pleasure and identity encourages and stimulates the recently arrived to make personal, more meaningful connections. In a “learning to read” environment, pleasure and enjoyment form the initial launching point for further literary development.
The PPT presentation summarizes how to integrate CRL in the English classroom and the research and validation that supports it.

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Integrating Culturally Relevant Literature in the English Classroom

  1. 1. Integrating Culturally RelevantLiterature in the EnglishClassroomby Manuel Hernandez Carmona(Manny)
  2. 2. Definition• The body of written works whichrepresent a specific system ofexperiences, beliefs, values andattitudes as depicted in the lives of agroup of people.“Loiza Aldea”by Victor Hernandez-Cruz•
  3. 3. CharacteristicsWords, verbal expressions, personalportraits and places that carry aparticular meaning which is onlyrecognized by those who share aparticular culture.“Boricua” by Tato Laviera
  4. 4. CharactersFolk heroes from the past or present,real or fictitious, who possesscharacteristics that are representative ofa culture. They also serve as models forbehavior and role modelsfor some.“The Konk” by Piri Thomas
  5. 5. Language and Culture“Myths concerning bilingualism by Francois Grosjean”Mixing languages is a sign of laziness in bilinguals.Code-switching and borrowing (Spanglish) is a verycommon in bilinguals speaking to other bilinguals. The twolanguage inventories are available in bilingual situationsand can be used at will. Many expressions and words arebetter said in the one or the other language; This said, inother situations, bilinguals know that they cannot mix theirlanguages (e.g. when speaking to monolinguals) and theythen stick to just one language:“En My Viejo San Juan” by Pedro Pietri“My Graduation Speech” by Tato Laviera
  6. 6. ResearchWhat does research say about how"culturally relevant literature" can beused as a vehicle to improvestudents’ reading and writing skills?
  7. 7. What? Where?• Primary research is obtained from peopleclose to the source itself. It can consist ofsurveys, interviews, original studies, andhistorical narratives.• Secondary research is gathered from theworks of other researchers or scholars. Itderives from reading books, journal articles,interviews, etc….
  8. 8. What role does the academic settinghave on academic performance?• CulturalResponsiveness, RacialIdentity and AcademicSuccess: A Review ofLiterature. Hanley, M. S.and Noblit, G. W.; June2009; A Paper Preparedfor the HeinzEndowments; 91 pages• Researchers foundthat ALANA (African,Latino, Asian andNative American)students performedbest in settings thatbuilt on their cultureand promoted theirracial identities.
  9. 9. How can culturally relevant textsengage student reading?• I Want to Read": HowCulturally RelevantTexts Increase StudentEngagement inReading. Feger, M.;Spring 2006; MulticulturalEducation, Volume 13,Number 3, Page 18-19;ERIC Number:EJ759630.Source: ERIC• The author describes howculturally relevant literatureand non-fiction textsincrease her studentsengagement in reading.Culturally relevant literatureand non-fiction, combinedwith a focus oncollaboration andcomprehension strategies,results in students readingcomprehension skills
  10. 10. How do you integrate? The Pilot ProgramPublic School TeachingThree English teachers: Two English AcademicFacilitators•1. K-6thgrade (Fajardo)•2. 7th-9thgrade (Rio Grande)•3. 10th-12thgrade (Fajardo)•How? What? A. Used TOC from currenttextbooks, used and identified CRL B. Establishedbridges C. Supplemented D. Created links withpre-reading activities
  11. 11. The Pilot Results• Originality and creativity is taken to otherlevels.• Increased results from pre-post diagnostictests.• Attitude towards reading (English) changes.• Life-long readers are empowered.• Improved results in standardized testing.• Writing skills are developed as a result oftheir reading comprehension development.
  12. 12. How do you integrate? What are thewidespread results with CRL?1.Courses at universities. UPR…InteramericanUniversity2.Test Items in PPAA3.Changes in textbooks4.CRL as a bridge (reading approach).5.Home-Schooling6.Pride and Identity is boosted7. Supplement