This year in Santa Matilde, during our tutoring time, we have had a reading group for students 4th grade-9th grade (and one university student). We were really fortunate to be loaned a set of Esperanza Renace (or Esperanza Rising) novels to use with our students.
Esperanza Renace is a beautiful story of hope and learning to overcome. I love meeting each week with my group. It’s an hour of building better reading fluency, improving comprehension, practicing dictionary skills and analyzing story components. Those are all things that are important and that, as a teacher, I love to teach. But it’s more than just that…
It’s an hour where they increase their confidence to read aloud and their bravery to share. It is seeing their kind hearts, their outrage over injustice, and their continual hope that even the worst situation can improve. I love to see their empathy as they enter into Esperanza’s world and learn to see things through her eyes. They are growing as readers and as people.
These moments around this table with our books in hand quickly became one of my favorite parts of the week. We started this book in February and just completed the story this week. I am incredibly proud of these students.
As a bonus, we ended our story sharing food together. Each chapter in Esperanza Renace is based upon a food that the farm workers in the story are harvesting. Of the foods discussed, there were four that almost none of the students had ever tried: figs, prunes, asparagus, and peaches. Luckily, I was able to find each of them at the grocery store and bring them in for us to try together. Overall everyone liked all of the fruits, but they were not big fans of the asparagus (as you can tell from their faces below).