Mundelein Elementary School District

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Cross Country Runner
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Lincoln School
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Each high school student spent time getting to know his or her elementary buddy, asking them in Spanish about their heritage, culture, family and community life, and hopes and dreams for the future.  Over the course of the next few months, the LHS students will create personalized storybooks to celebrate each child’s unique story, reflect each child’s identity through literature, and showcase each child achieving his or her future aspirations.  Ms. Koener explains that there is “a concept in literature called windows and mirrors, which suggests that we consider the variety of narratives each of our students bring into the classroom, and provide them with texts that both reflect who they are... [and] give them insight into other experiences.”  When she reached out to MG Bilingual teachers Valeria Cardenas, Gina Carrillo, and Elizabeth Gomez, the three warmly welcomed the high school visitors.  These teachers know it is vital to provide all children, and especially minority children, access to mirror texts because “when children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part” (Bishop 2009).  The goal of the LHS students is simple: to celebrate the diversity of each student and empower all to achieve their hopes and dreams.  At the end of the school year, the LHS students will once again visit MG to read the published, hardcover storybook to their child.  Each child will take the book home as a keepsake to share with his or her family.  Literature is powerful.  Stories matter.  Through this project, our Spanish-speaking students will receive validation that their lives and culture are precious and worthy of celebration.