Latino Visions: A Cultural Springboard for Reading
is a ten-day unit of study for children in grade three. The main goal of this unit is to summarize books with Latino themes, making it available on a regular basis to students learning to read. My goal will focus on three points. The first is to choose literature in which Latino children can identify with the characters and situations. The second is to emphasize similarities and differences across cultures helping all students to understand diverse cultures and gain a greater understanding of each other. The third is to use this culturally rich literature to explicitly teach guided reading.
Using Latino literature, I hope to improve the students' critical steps in developing comprehension when forming a general understanding, developing interpretation, making connections, and demonstrating a critical stance. I hope to construct meaning, to self-regulate learning and to entertain. The unit will improve students' performance on the Connecticut Mastery Test in reading by providing opportunities for the student to notice predictability of the text, compare the characters and setting, notice the similarity of the structure, and make comparisons between texts.
My unit will be taught in a self-contained third grade classroom at Conte West Hills School in New Haven, Connecticut. Most of the children are eight or nine years old with an occasional ten-year old. They come with a variety of home situations and differences in academic ability as well as considerable differences in general knowledge. They come from varied ethnic, economic and social backgrounds with many children not being read to at home. The demographics of New Haven Public Schools are approximately 55% African-American, 31% Latino, 11% Caucasian, 3% other. Approximately 30% of the students in third grade are in reading remediation programs.