Literacy Resources Available through Cinco Puntos Press

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

This week WOW Currents features teacher and family literacy resources available through Cinco Puntos Press, an independent publishing company located in El Paso, Texas. Bobby and Lee Byrd, owners and publishers, opened Cinco Puntos in 1985 and have been publishing “great books which make a difference in the way you see the world” ever since.

Teaching Guides and Videos

Cinco Puntos Press offers teaching guides for many of the great books they publish. The teaching guides contain a variety of engagements, several written in both English and Spanish. For example, the teaching guide for Mi Familia Calaca/My Skeleton Family by Cynthia Weill, with paper mache figures by Jesús Canseco Zárate contains questions written in both languages. The before-during-after questions align with the English Language Arts Common Core Standards, helping teachers meet the CCSS.

The teaching guide for They Call Me Güero by David Bowles includes reading questions and activities that connect to close reading and reader response. The after-reading questions and activities invite readers to think more deeply about the text. For example, students are invited to create a scrapbook or life story of significant events in their lives, replicating how the novel tells about the significant events in Güero’s life.

Perhaps my favorite teaching resources are the author videos that accompany some of the books. Joe Hayes is a master storyteller and the author of La Llarona: The Weeping Woman, the most widely sold book from Cinco Puntos Press. Joe tells stories in English and in Spanish, perfect for bilingual virtual learning spaces. Students and families will enjoy all the stories even if they do not have the physical books. Xavier Garza, author and illustrator, provides an animated retelling of his books, The Great and Mighty Nikko and Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask. Told in English and in Spanish, Garza’s animated storytelling is sure to captivate audiences.

“Shelter in Books” Classroom Sponsorships

School closures during the COVID-19 pandemic have prevented teachers from accessing the curriculum materials they use to effectively teach students. Many teachers are searching for quality children’s and young adult books they can use as teaching tools and to read for pleasure in their virtual learning spaces.

Through the “Shelter in Books” Classroom Sponsorship, Cinco Puntos Press matches teachers seeking books with thoughtful sponsors who wish to support them during this unprecedented time. Cinco Puntos Press offers a 50% discount to sponsors who support a classroom. To date, sponsors have donated to 57 classrooms from Texas to Florida to Maine. Eleven classroom teachers still need a sponsor. To add your classroom request to the sponsorship list or to sponsor a classroom teacher, go to the website to access contact information and instructions. Cinco Puntos Press also accepts general donations that they will apply to an unmatched request.

As cases of COVID-19 surpass the 11 million mark and deaths near 250,000 in the United States, the date to open brick and mortar schools seems further and further away. Nonetheless, teachers and families know they can offer an effective education to students through virtual learning. They also recognize that they have support for their efforts, like the support of Cinco Puntos Press.

Check in next week for the final blog post featuring literacy resources offered by independent presses. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy.

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