English Learners (ELs) make up a large portion of the student population in our nation’s public school system. However, not all school districts and educators are prepared to meet the cultural needs of their students. Cultural relevancy is said to play a significant role in the academic success, literacy achievement, and parental involvement of ELs and their parents. Read on to find out about the following policies and strategies that help bolster family literacy.
Title I of the Every Student Succeed Acts (ESSA) was enacted to close the achievement gap between low-income students and their peers. In 1994, this policy was revised to better the fundamental goals of helping at-risk students. Title, Part A provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools that teach high percentages of children from low-income families. The funds are used to help students reach state academic standards.
The Migrant Education Program ensures that all migrant students achieve academic success by reaching academic standards. The program aims that migrant EL students graduate high school with either a diploma or GED so that they can become productive adults. Funds from this program are used to ensure that migrant children are not penalized for moving, as migrant students have to deal with changing curriculum, state academic standards, and graduation requirements. Migrant students receive appropriate education services that help them succeed in school.
Title III of the ESSA was put in place to ensure that ELs attain proficiency in the English language and excel in school to reach state academic standards. The funds go directly to state education agencies (SEAs), as well as LEAs, to help them better serve low-income students by strengthening the quality of academics and overall institutional management.
Bilingual books play a huge role in bringing cultural relevancy into the classroom and the home. In the classroom, teachers help students become interested in reading and acquiring new language skills. At home, bilingual books encourage parental involvement because parents can relate to the stories and can read them in Spanish and can learn English while reading in their native language. EL parents and students that relate to assignments become more involved and open to learning, as they see that someone values their culture and experiences. Lectura Books offers an array of bilingual books for students of all ages. Additionally, the Latino Family Literacy Project offers professional development trainings for teachers working with EL families, so that they can learn how to incorporate cultural relevancy in the classroom and assignments.