Window and Mirrors: LEAD Celebrates the Power of Literacy
National Book Month has come to a close but LEAD Public Schools embraces and celebrates the power of literacy all year long.
LEAD promoted Thomas Schoen to the role of Director of Literacy in April 2021. Schoen received his BA and MA in education from Miami University of Ohio. Before fulfilling the role of Director of Literacy, Schoen was an instructional coach at LEAD Cameron and taught 5th and 7th grade English Language Arts (ELA) at LEAD Cameron.
Schoen ensures LEAD’s diverse population of students are represented in the books they read. LEAD students are from 38 countries around the world and speak 27 different languages.
“It benefits all of us, as global citizens, to not only have books as mirrors, to see ourselves in the conflicts and triumphs of the characters, but to also have books as windows, experiencing conflicts and triumphs of those who are different from us,” said Thomas Schoen, LEAD Public Schools Director of Literacy.
LEAD 8th graders recently finished reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This novel is about Christopher, a boy with autism who faces unique challenges and uses his strengths to solve the mystery of the death of his neighbor’s dog.Schoen said some students may see similarities between themselves and the challenges Christopher faces while others may learn to understand someone entirely different than them.
“This book meant a lot to me because knowing how autism affects someone is one thing, but knowing what it is like and what the challenges are from a first person point of view is another,” Emily, an 8th Grader at LEAD Cameron, said. “This book not only taught me to think twice before judging someone. This book also showed how some people have challenges on an everyday basis and even with those challenges, they keep going.”
LEAD 7th graders are currently reading The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. This artful novel of vignettes follows Esperanza, a young girl figuring out her place in the world. In this coming of age novel, many students can directly relate to a young Latina living in the United States and being from another country.
“A large part of Esperanza’s journey is about identity. All of our students can relate to that book in one way or another,” said Francie Brooks, LEAD Neely’s Bend Instructional Coach.
LEAD Students learn to engage in novels through text-driven questioning and cognitive lessons of reading, writing, and discussion. As a result, LEAD students develop a deep understanding of the text in front of them and the world around them.