This semester, students in READ 6310 were asked to contribute a post to this blog.
By Eliaber Jimenez
In reference to the issue of multicultural or multiethnic literature in the classroom, some teachers may think what is the actually the point of having those type of books in the classroom? A good answer would be that children should be aware that there are other cultures around the world and those cultures not only differ in customs, but also they speak a different language. Having multicultural literature in the classroom is the best way to educate children from the classroom and make them think that there are other things outside of the classroom walls.
Even for teachers, learning about other cultures seems very exciting. Traditions from other countries are interesting are exciting for children of all ages. One good example of this would be the American Indian cultures; they are interesting and teach us about the things they do, the respect, and the religion they follow, and also about the meaning of the figures they have, what they represent and when do they worship those figures. I just imagine our students learning and visualizing those ancient cultures just by reading a book. In order for students to acquire knowledge of another culture, they should be exposed to read books from all over the world. The teacher must have ample views and comprehension about different cultures so she could be able to explain if children have questions.
One very important aspect on children’s books are the illustrations, they are the ones that grab the attention especially for young children. When reading literature from a different culture using another language, even if they are not familiar with the language used in the story, just by looking at the pictures they will understand the meaning of the reading and will have a better understanding of the story theme. However sometimes some type of literature is not easy understood by young children, based on the fact that it is not easy for them to read between the lines or make inferences about the facts on the story, but for adults some situations and events are more familiar to them and illustrations in the story make it pretty much easy and exciting to read.
In my opinion I would recommend that each classroom shoud have multicultural literature to educate our children and to help them open their eyes to a new horizon.