Migrant farm laborers are often called America’s “invisible people”—a term that, tragically, is just as applicable to their children. Because their lives are transitory and their English skills often limited, our opportunities to have a lasting impact on their literacy education are far too brief. But that makes these children no less deserving of our full commitment. In “Where Do I Go from Here?” Karen Vocke describes how to make the most of each day, creating an educational experience that will serve all children long after they leave our classrooms.
Always mindful of state standards and assessment requirements, Vocke demonstrates how to modify the curriculum and adapt strategies to facilitate English language acquisition and content-area knowledge. She provides vital information on:
- the history, culture, and families of migrant students so that we better understand—and respect—the foundation on which their lives are built
- essential language considerations, with an emphasis on what we can do now to help struggling English learners become more proficient
- culturally responsive materials and lessons, with guidelines on how to evaluate books, along with a complete lesson plan for promoting cultural sensitivity
- the need for an inclusive community of readers and writers, based on the principles of cooperative learning and supported by a lesson plan on student heritage and tradition as well as other activities that create a culture of sharing
- ways to foster both literacy and cultural understanding through technology, especially the many benefits of digital storytelling, with easy-to-follow guidelines
- the importance of involving migrant families and communities, with suggestions on overcoming language and cultural barriers as well as specific steps you and your school can take.
All this is supported by a wealth of helpful materials, including additional resources for working with migrant families, organizations you can contact for more information, recommended children’s literature and wordless picture books, and letters and announcements to parents in both English and Spanish.
Use the ideas in “Where Do I Go from Here?” to create a welcoming learning environment that values inclusion and diversity. Give every student the same chance for a literate life. In the process, you’ll soon see the future of America’s “invisible” students in a bright, new light.