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Connecting with Latino Children: Bridging Gaps with Children's Literature

Publisher: Bilingual Research Journal, 27 (1)
Page Numbers: 101-116

Teachers generally come out of teacher education programs with very little background in multicultural issues and instructional techniques. This study documents the use of Latino children’s literature in field experience seminars to help preservice teachers (teacher candidates) gain background knowledge of the cultures, traditions, language, and issues surrounding Latinos in the United States and the elementary students with whom they will be working. The teacher candidates then use the same literature in their field experience classrooms, tapping into the children’s funds of knowledge and encouraging the children to respond in a personal way. This experience enriches the teacher candidates’ work with children and broadens their personal perspective and understanding of cultures different from their own. This study found that using Latino children’s literature in a university teacher education program benefited both the preservice teachers and their students.