Learning to read is a challenging and exciting time. Having books that a child can identify with and understand makes a difference when encouraging a 'love' to read.
A child's classroom is a safe heaven for them to feel confident to explore, make mistakes, learn and grow. Having resources that relate to their heritage help them to feel at home and welcome.
I have taught in various countries working with students with many different ethnicity but the common theme in my classroom was to teach and provide resources for my students.
When reading an article today "Closing the achievement gap for Toronto's aboriginal students" I admired the efforts of Toronto District School Board TDSB to engage their aboriginal students. Isn't that our responsibility as teachers; to engage all of our students?
After an alarming report admonishing TDSB on failing aboriginal students and a successful pilot project, TDSB are making positive changes to engage their students.
Changes they have made include:
- idnetifying First Nations, Inuit or Metis students in order to refer them to the board’s expanding Aboriginal Education Centre
- sensitivity training for staff
- expanding the Aboriginal Education Centre
- feasibility study on how to fix or completely overhaul a small First Nations alternative school
- new alternative Native Learning Centre is expected to open this fall
- TDSB superintendents have been given a presentation about the achievement gap
At the Bala Avenue Community School Ojibwa classes, drumming clubs, native murals and smart learn-to-read books with native themes shipped in from British Columbia are provided.
Of course the learn-to-read books caught my attention. I am the book selector for Quality Classrooms and always looking for quality books to offer our customers. These books described with enthusiasm by Principal Lisa Beischlagwe, Quality Classrooms currently sells.
Specifically designed to teach reading skills to Canadian children. these books explore Aboriginal and Northern Canadian themes with humour and illustrations that reflect contemporary daily experiences. Developed by experienced educators in early education (Frontier School Division), these books are designed to be used as a systematic reading series in progression from simple to difficult or simply as reading reinforcement. The colourful and warm illustrations portray happy and exciting lifestyles.
Another set of beginning readers Quality Classrooms currently offers are the Northern Learning To Read Series.
“The gap in aboriginal content in the curriculum is bad not just for aboriginal students but for every Canadian.” Having resources that children can relate to, helps them to feel our respect for them.
"The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil." Ralph Waldo Emerson