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Language and Literacy Support through Photography

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Keywords: Second-Language Learners, Language Experience Approach, Book Making
Subject(s): Science, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Technology, Social Skills, Art, Foreign Language
Grades K through 8
Original Author: Rebecca Huppert, Grand Rapids
I teach in a Dual Language Immersion school -- our students learn to speak, read, and write in English and Spanish. This can be a very difficult task for many of our students. We often find that our second-language learners are lacking essential resources for developing their vocabulary. Creating realia with digital photos will provide an ideal opportunity for scaffolding our students' vocabulary development and literacy with visual support.

In addition, 90% of our school's population is at or below the poverty level; this means that the majority of our students do not have books or other appropriate reading materials in their homes. Unfortunately, there is no public library within walking distance, and because so many of our students' parents work full-time, our students have little or no access to books outside of school. By creating meaningful digital photo books that the students can take home and read with their families, we will be supporting literacy in a population that is struggling to achieve academic success.

Within the classroom, we would like to use the cameras and resources to create books through the Language Experience Approach (well-known for its success with emergent readers) and the writing workshop. Our students will learn to write books to match their photos, or vice-versa, and will learn to revise and edit them. The photo support that the books will contain will help to foster their reading fluency.

Finally, these cameras will be used to document our students' learning. We will send home newsletters with photos of the students, and we can post photos of their achievements throughout the school. All students need visible support of their learning, and this grant is an excellent means of providing it.
Materials: Web Page, Database, Word Processor, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Camera Bags, Point and Shoot, Cause and Effect, Timeline, Slideshow
Other Items: Digital Camera
Photo Printer, $100 each
Ink Cartridges, $100 each
Photo Paper- 100 pack, $13.89 each
Binding combs- 100 pack, $9 each
Subscription to realebooks.com, $195 each