Teen Read Week special programming for English Language Learners (ELLs) at my school is still in the planning stages; I have been collaborating with Mrs. Rebecca Hepler, the English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher to prepare and schedule activities.
We have 16 students in this group of ELLs, representing five different nations around the world from Mexico to Saudi Arabia to China. Students’ exposure to the history of our city, Philadelphia, and to this year’s historic election cycle differs from that of their peers. To promote reading and make connections to the community and current events, we are focusing our programming on how our nation was founded by immigrants and how immigrants can be a part of the political process today.
ELLs meet as a class every other day, so Mrs. Hepler and I will be able to co-lead activities during this class time. We will facilitate activities using leveled texts about the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and election process. Activities will lead up to a day trip to Independence Hall and the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where students will encounter historic documents first-hand and participate in special small-group tours and programming. Our trip will take place only a few days before the presidential election, so students will also have the chance to vote in a mock election.
I love promoting Teen Read Week in the school library but know that this year will be special. Partnering with Mrs. Hepler to provide opportunities for ELLs to connect with history, their community and current events is really rewarding and I look forward to sharing more about our program later this month.