“We listen to Enough again please Miss Masse?” One of my kindergarteners asks with eagerness in her eyes.
We have taken to audio recording our read alouds to listen to them during transition times and other times during our day. This idea came at the suggestion of a friend and mentor, Audrey O’Clair, who was helping me brainstorm ideas to increase comprehension and language acquisition for my kindergartners 11/14 of whom are new to the English language. In listening to the story over and over again, learners connect more to the language and are able to comprehend on a deeper level.
I Am Enough is a favorite of theirs to listen to, but also to look at. They pull it out again and again, dig into the illustrations and notice facial expressions, talk about interactions among characters, and make connections to their own life.
“That’s like me and my best friend!” one child shouts upon seeing this:
Our school is special, unique in our district, because we have over 30 cultures represented by the children who walk through our halls each day. This book validated the life they live and they got to see a mirror to their life. It also allowed them to see some windows into the lives of others such as the child in the story who is in a wheelchair.
Books that provide windows and mirrors to children are critical to their social/emotional development. Grace Byers provides many opportunities for both windows and mirrors in her lyrical story I Am Enough. The illustrations take the book to the next level allowing for deeper conversations and connections to a variety of ways of life.