Representation: Inspiring People, Stories, Books, and Poetry of Immigrants
Krashen recently said, “We do not acquire language by study, or by speaking or writing. We acquire in only one way: by understanding what we hear or read. What we call ‘comprehensible input.’ The ability to produce language is the result of getting the right kind of input.” What was his recommendation on how to do that? Practice more storytelling and provide self-selected reading. In early foreign language classes, studies show that students learn more effectively by listening to stories told to them by their teachers than from traditional study. Listening creates a path to reading, which is key for input for language acquisition.
From Larry Ferlazzo's blog (see below)
Inspiring stories of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers
96 Stories I have collected from around the web about inspiring immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
Sample of student project
Television Show: By Paula Rangel. Paula, my student, created this 6 months after arriving as a non-English speaker. She did not have all this vocabulary prior to this project. She listened, learned, revised, check her pronunciation and practiced. She chose her topic from the slides. She watched videos, created an original script and edited/revised the English. She created a required prop.
Project had to include: 1. name of immigrant, 2. country of origin of the person, 3. specific challenges they faced, 4. what they valued or guiding principal, 5. lessons we could learn from them, 6. a prop, 7. tone inflection that sounded like a reporter, 8. photo.
Websites that collect stories
University of Minnesota: Immigration History Research Center:
Click "Digital Stories" for a search by countries/language
Poetry about immigrants
Please preview before using. Some may have words, styles or topics not appropriate for your class. Often these poets repeat negative things people have said to them so be aware of slurs.
"Accents" by Denise Frohman
"Where I am From" by George Ella Lyon. Here is more info about the author and her projects. http://www.georgeellalyon.com/where.html. There are many templates across the web that give you examples of how to use this poem in your class. I have my students brainstorm per section, write their version and then create a video in Adobe Spark. (free and easy to use.)
First Generation by Ijeoma Umebinyuo. I have my student read this and we rewrote it for our parents. Each student did one line about their parent/family.
"Home" by Warshan Shaw. This is a powerful, beautiful, wrenching poem. Please be careful. I once used this poem in a presentation and because I was in a rush I forgot to give the background before I used it. I got a scathing review. It was written by a Kenyan poet who had spent the day with African refugees and heard their stories. She wrote about all they endured. It may not be appropriate for your class. Please read this before you use this poem. https://www.facinghistory.org/standing-up-hatred-intolerance/warsan-shire-home
"Borders" by Denise Frohman
"Standing In Between" Khamal Iwuanyanwu, Sarina Morales, and Vanessa Tahay
"Chingona" by Leticia (Caution: language)
"At The Wall, US/Mexican Border, Texas, 2020" Paola Gonzalez & Karla Gutierrez
“The Unwritten Letter from My Immigrant Parent" by Muna Abdulahi
Picture and Chapter books
My favorite! This is a boxed set by Saddleback for high school emergent readers. TEEN EMERGENT READER LIBRARIES: ENGAGE  ADDITIONAL BOOK SET (1 EACH OF 20 TITLES)
Stephen Krashen’s Seven Tips for Teaching Language During Covid-19
This is a great summary of Stephen Krashen's recent presentation.
Places to buy books in multiple languages: