The month of February is important in the United States because we celebrate Black History Month. While many children learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in January, the entire month of February is a celebration of men and women that fought for civil rights in America. Many children in multilingual families have come from areas where they were lacking many of the rights that we have here. Take time to share with them more of the history of our country and the people who have helped us to come this far.
Sharing Famous African American People
For 38 years, we have been celebrating Black History Month in the United States. During this time, many authors have created picture books for young children to help them to understand the importance of this history. Some examples to read together are:
- The Story of Ruby Bridges – by Robert Coles
- If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks – by Faith Ringgold
- Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt – by Deborah Hopkinson
- Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad – by Ellen Levine
There are many additional books about Civil Rights and specific individuals from throughout history. Be sure to look in libraries and schools because many have wonderful collections. Talk to people that you work with to see what individual classrooms will be learning so you are able to supplement properly during speech sessions.
Poems to Celebrate People
Children love to create their own poems. Acrostic poetry is a wonderful way to encourage children to think of words to describe people, use new vocabulary, or form sentences. Have each child pick the name of an African American that they would like to write about. Give them a piece of construction paper to write their name down the length of the paper. Make a model poem for each age level and skill that you are working on and share it with your students. Perhaps you want the poem to answer questions on each line, or describe the individual. There are many possibilities and when finished they can decorate the paper with a drawing of the person.
Allow kids to take home these poems to share at home. Include a small paper on what you have been covering with Black History Month and how this encourages children to learn about tolerance and understanding differences among peers. Some families may do well with a translation of the poem to help them to be able to discuss it with their child. As always be sensitive to multilingual families so they will enjoy what their children are learning during speech and language sessions.
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