The Importance of Black History Month

  • February 22, 2018
  • Bilingual Therapies

black history monthBlack History Month is celebrated in the United States during February. Schools often spend a lot of time talking about the important accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It’s also crucial to spend additional time to focus on other men and women who fought for civil rights in America. Children in multilingual families may come from areas where they did not have many rights before they came to this country. Spend time sharing their stories and be able to compare to the history of the United States.

Black Americans Who Helped to Break Boundaries

Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States for 42 years. These days we have a lot of books which are available on the subject to share with children. It’s the perfect time to allow students to learn more about the history of the Civil Rights movement and those who were front and center in the movement. Some examples to read together are:

  • 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr.
  • If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
  • My Name is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner
  • Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
  • Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass by Suzanne Slade
  • Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
  • The Story of Ruby Bridges – by Robert Coles

There are many other books about the fight for Civil Rights in the United States. Search for specific individuals and see who may be from your areas of the country. Sharing how these individuals fought for their rights will inspire a lot of conversations on tough topics. Be ready for questions and have honest answers.

Sharing Knowledge as Poets

After reading about pioneers in Black History, take time to let each child share what they learned. Each child will be a poet and create their own acrostic poem on the individual. Give each child a piece of construction paper to write the person’s name vertically.  Acrostic poetry is a wonderful way to encourage children to think of words to describe people, use new vocabulary, or form sentences. Make a model poem for each age level and skill which you are working on and share it with your students.

Therapists can send the poems home with each when they are complete. Write a letter to families about Black History Month and what you have been talking about during different sessions. Include information for them to be able to continue the important conversations together. Be sure to give translations to multilingual families so they may participate.

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Together, let’s create brighter futures for culturally diverse students.