WOW Stories Volume VIII Issue 2

Volume VIII, Issue 2

Global Literacy Communities are small groups of educators who engage in professional inquiry around innovative practices for interacting with global children’s and adolescent literature to build intercultural understanding. These communities meet regularly to consider global literature, world languages, and ways of using these books in preK-12 classroom contexts. Although the communities may be school-based, district-based, community-based, or university/school collaborations, they share a commitment to thinking together as professional learning communities and to transforming their practice in classrooms.

In 2019-2020, eight Global Literacy Communities received grants from Worlds of Words to support their work with global literature. The members of these communities shared their work on Padlet and were supported by Cynthia Ryman as the Global Literacy Coordinator. These communities had their work cut short with the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, but found ways to continue some of their work. Each community has written a vignette for WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom. We published the work of the Vail Global Literacy Community in Vol. VIII, Issue 1, and this issue publishes vignettes that highlight the work of the other seven communities.

The Global Literacy Communities project is supported by CERCLL, the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy, at the University of Arizona. This Title VI Language Resource Center supports research related to language teaching and learning and provides quality teaching resources and professional development to encourage the meaningful integration of culture, literacy and world language study.

This issue of WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom includes seven vignettes that highlight seven global literacy communities located in rural and urban communities in different regions across the U.S. and in elementary, middle school and high school contexts. Each community consists of educators committed to the use of global literature with students and with explorations of language and culture across global contexts, often in response to the diversity of students in their communities and schools.

The first vignette focuses on the work of teachers from different districts in Washington, the Whatcom County Global Literacy Community. They share three stories: a sixth-grade unit on immigration, a second-grade unit on Sikh religion and Punjabi culture, and an after school club for middle school students on Japanese language and culture. The second vignette comes from a group of K-4 educators in Tennessee, the J.E. Moss Global Literacy Community, and focuses on their work with a journey text set to analyze illustrations in picturebooks and learn “how to read” visual images.

The next three vignettes highlight explorations of culture and language, particularly their search for books written in a range of languages. A global literacy community in Detroit shares their work in a PreK-12 Spanish/English dual language immersion school to engage middle school students in Spanish books set in Central American contexts. The Lakeside Global Community in San Diego consisted of teachers from a Spanish language immersion program in several elementary and middle schools. Their primary goal was to find new sources of children’s literature, particularly authentic literature from Latin America, instead of English literature translated into Spanish. The third vignette is from the Civic Center Global Literacy Community, a group of Grade 7-12 educators in an alternative school in San Francisco. Their focus was on finding ways to engage students, many of whom had long histories of negative experiences with books, and they share a range of strategies, including a field trip to a Japanese bookstore.

The final two vignettes highlight the roles of literacy coaches and media specialists in engaging students and teachers in global literature. A group of literacy coaches in a Utah global literacy community came together to read and discuss global books for which they developed demonstration lessons to share in classrooms across their school district. In the last vignette, a rural Wisconsin global literacy community of K-12 teachers and the media specialist planned classroom units and events, such as a Reading Rampage, to introduce global literature into their classrooms.

We invite you to read these vignettes and learn about the wide range of innovative work occurring in schools across the U.S. to invite children and adolescents to build bridges across global cultures through intercultural understanding.

Kathy G. Short, Guest Editor

© 2020 by Kathy G. Short

Creative Commons License

WOW Stories, Volume VIII, Issue 2 by Worlds of Words is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

WOW stories: connections from the classroom
ISSN 2577-0551

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