On Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima and Becoming a Lifelong Reader, and How I Nearly Blew It as a Teacher: An Extended Testimonio
This article, written in large part as a testimonio, argues that the use of culturally relevant texts with struggling, minoritized readers will increase their opportunity at literacy and academic success. The author recounts the story of when he discovered Cisneros’ The House On Mango Street (1991) that then led, unexpectedly, to Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima (1972), two novels that caused him to fall in love with the reading act once again. The article also argues that educators must intentionally act on behalf of their struggling, minoritized readers by providing them numerous opportunities at discovering themselves in class-sanctioned literature by restructuring their required reading lists.
Anaya, R. A. (1972). Bless me, Ultima: a novel. Berkeley, CA: TQS Publications.
Baldwin, J. (1988). Go tell it on the mountain, Giovanni’s room, The fire next time. New York, NY: Quality Paperback Book Club.
Bishop, R. (1990). Mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, 6(3). Retrieved from https://scenicregional.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Mirrors-Windows-and-Sliding-Glass-Doors.pdf
Bradbury, R. (2013). Fahrenheit 451. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.
Cisneros, S. (1989). The house on Mango Street. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
Cummins, J. (2000). Language, power and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire. Tonawanda, NY: Multilingual Matters. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21832/9781853596773
Ebe, A. E. (2012). Supporting the reading development of middle school English language learners through culturally relevant texts. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 28, 179-198. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10573569.2012.651078
Fitzgerald, F. S. (1995). The great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner Paperback Fiction/Simon & Schuster.
Freeman, Y. & Freeman, D. (2004). Connecting students to culturally relevant texts. Talking Points, April/May, 7-11.
Freire, P. (1998). Teachers as cultural workers: letters to those who dare teach. Boulder CO: Westview Press.
Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. NY: The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc.
Freire, P. & Macedo D. (1987). Literacy: reading the word and the world. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.
Kaywell, J. (2015). How books save lives [video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqxIfo6qXCw
Moll, L.C., Amanti, C., Neff, D. & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory Into Practice, 31(2), pp. 132-141. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00405849209543534
Rosenblatt, L. (2005). Making meaning with texts: selected essays. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Saldaña, R. (2010). Writing, teaching, and researching: an interview with René Saldaña, Jr. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 53(8), 688-690. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1598/JAAL.53.8.7
Saldaña, R. (2018). Hook them with leyendas: mixing in some spooky tales to get kids reading. Literacy Today, May/June, 14-15.
Santiago, D. (1992). The Somebody. In Edward Simmen (Ed.), North of the Rio Grande: The Mexican-American experience in short Fiction (pp. 212-221). New York, NY: Mentor.
Twain, M. (2003). The adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books.
Vélez-Ibáñez, C. & Greenburg, J. (2005). Formation and transformation of funds of knowledge. Reprinted in Funds of knowledge: theorizing practices in households, communities and classrooms. Edited by Norma González, Luis C. Moll, & Cathy Amanti. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 47- 69.
Von Sprecken, D., Kim, J., & Krashen, S. (2000). The home run book: can one positive reading experience create a reader? California School Journal, 23.2, 8-9.
Copyright (c) 2019 René Saldaña, Jr.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.