Using the Stories and Language of Home, Researchers Create Curriculum Designed to Boost Literacy in Low Income Latino Children

Gigliana Melzi and Adina Schick of Steinhardt’s Department of Applied Psychology have been awarded a $191,00 grant from the Brady Foundation.  The grant supports a study titled, “Oral Stories in the Classroom: Encouraging Preschool Teachers’ Use of Cultural Funds of Knowledge.”

Working in partnership with a bilingual Head Start Center in New York City, Melzi, an associate professor of applied psychology, and Schick, a research scientist, will create a program that uses a story telling curriculum to build children’s emergent literacy and social-emotional outcomes.

The researchers note that their oral stories projects creates a preschool classroom storytelling curriculum that draws on the rich traditions and practices prevalent in Latino homes.  By capitalizing on cultural and communal experiences that low-income Latino children bring with them into the classroom, they plan to devise and implement a classroom oral storytelling curriculum that can build on the literacy and social skills children need to succeed in elementary school.

“All children enter school with a wealth of cultural resources intended to help them participate – and succeed – in the classroom environment,” Melzi said.  ”Building on these ‘funds of knowledge’ is critical to children’s school success in the preschool years.”

(Photo from left:  Adina Schick and Gigliana Melzi.)