Exploring Identity through Reading at Eugene Coste School: Soy un lector

Jun. 03, 2021

At Eugene Coste School, one of six Spanish Bilingual elementary schools within the CBE, we are working to improve student achievement in reading in both English and Spanish.  In response to a recent school-wide provocation, Spanish Intensive Weeks, students in señora Schmidt’s Grade 4/5 class worked to better understand their identities as bilingual readers through their “Soy un Lector”/”I am a Reader” project. Working through the lens of bilingual literacy, students explored the multiple dimensions of the Holistic Lifelong Learning Framework (alma/spirit, corazon/heart, cuerpo/body, and mente/mind) to define their whole selves as readers.

The final mixed media identity portraits were inspired by the work of Jaume Plensa and Apitatán, two Hispanic artists that integrate literacy in their art to convey meaning. Students placed themselves as the reader (el lector) at the center of the art surrounded by the multiple dimensions that contribute to their holistic understanding of themselves as readers.

Alma/Spirit - to be (los gustos y preferencias/likes and preferences)

“Wonder es mi libro favorito porque es muy divertido e interesante. A mi me encanta este libro. A mi me gusta leer en mi cama y en mi silla en la escuela. A mi me gusta leer en la noche”
“Wonder is my favourite book because it is really fun and interesting. I love this book. I like to read in my bed and my chair at school. I like to read at night”

Corazón/Heart - to belong (La comunidad literaria/the literary community)

“A mi me gusta como mi maestra lee en voz alta porque yo no sé leer en voz alta.”
“I like it when my teacher reads out loud because I don't know how to read out loud”

“Me gusta leer con amigos”
“I like to read with my friends”

Cuerpo/Body - to do (acciones al leer/reading actions)

“Cuando estoy leyendo yo uso los ojos para leer las palabras y las imágenes, las manos para agarrar el libro, la boca para leer en voz alta, y la mente para enfocar”
“When I am reading I use my eyes to read the words and pictures, my hands to hold the book, my mouth to read out loud, and my mind to focus”

Mente/Mind - toknow (las estrategias de lectura/ reading strategies)

“Cuando leo una palabra difícil, mis estrategias son: preguntar a un amigo, buscar en el diccionario, y mucho más”
“When I read a difficult word, my strategies are to ask a friend, look it up in the dictionary, and many more”

When students are able to view themselves as part of a community of learners, they are more able to take risks, which is an important feature of language learning. This project allowed students to reflect and celebrate their accomplishments as readers!