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Reading Refuges - Curating Culturally Relevant Books for English Learners and Their Families with Hermenegildo Paulo

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Why is reading culturally relevant books such an important part of language acquisition? What can educators do to make sure students have access to relevant and engaging reading materials - both at home and at school? How can providing access to books for immigrant families help promote educational equity? We discuss these questions and much more with Hermenegildo Paulo, an inspirational educator and recent English Learner now working in Portland Public Schools in Maine.
 

During our conversation, we referenced the following books and resources:
An educator and English Language Learner himself, Mr. Paulo cares deeply about overcoming inequities that impact the English Language Learner student population and their families. A native of Angola, Mr. Paulo is a passionate math educator who instructed students in kindergarten through college in classrooms of sometimes more than 80 students.  During his decade of math instructional experience in Angola, he strived to use best practice and initiate new programs to develop supportive relationships with his students and their families.
 
Upon moving to the U.S., Mr. Paulo knew that his only way back into a classroom was through proficiency in English, a language that he did not speak. Starting in early 2017, he worked tirelessly to learn English, and found himself back in a classroom less than a year after moving across the world.
 
Mr. Paulo holds a post-graduate certificate in Education Management from the Catholic University of Brasilia and a Bachelor's in Math Education from Instituto Superior de Ciências da Educação de Luanda in Angola. 
 
He currently works supporting English Language Learners and their families as a Language Acquisition Technician and Interpreter at Reiche School in Portland, ME.
He is excited to share information about his new program, Reading Refuges, which helps overcome home literacy inequity. Mr. Paulo works with students and their families to curate a home library, complete with first language and English books. Books are then placed into storage crates, with a seat on top of them, so children have a portable, comfortable place to enjoy a good book at home.
 

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