Latino/a Literature: A Resource For Standardized
by Manuel Hernández
Latino/a Literature is a resource for young adults and
standardized testing in America. Voices of concerns were depicted
widely televised special on November 30, 2003 on Fox television.
prime time segment dedicated a series on education to vividly
stories of teens with problems with standardized testing.
looking for answers and embarking on a journey of redefining
solutions. A resource for the teaching of literature in the
States of America may be Latino/a literature.
Studies indicate that there is a strong relationship between
reading and writing. Two scholars in the area (Noyce and Christie,
state that the mind assimilates information to explain the
between skills and reading/writing. Therefore it is up to
provide and include additional material and instruction to
fill in the missing links. Closing the gap on standardized
means going beyond the classics.
According to the United States Census statistics, there were
million people of Latino origin living in the United States
in the year
2000. Recent 2003 numbers places the largest minority near
million mark (13 percent of the U.S.A. population). Latino
migrated to the United States before, during and immediately
War II, and those who were born and grew up in the United
come out of the melting pot and have become a vital voice
letters today. They have developed a powerful and dynamic
and are being anthologized like never before. Even The Anthology
American Literature (Prentice-Hall, 1997), one of America’s
influential collection of classical writings, includes the
works of the highly awarded writers, Tomás Rivera and Sandra
alongside Hemingway, Updike and Longfellow.
Americans are demanding a quality education for all children.
the four principles of the Government’s No Child Left Behind
Law is an
emphasis on teaching methods that have worked in the past.
In a workshop
that I performed for the New York City High Schools/English
Learners Office in 2000 and 2001, English and English as a
Language high school teachers shared testimonies (Integrating
Literature in The English Classroom, Part V, television production
the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network) on
Literature had provided young adults with motivation and preparation
for the Regents exams. Mr. Joseph Lizardi ,ex-playwright and
teacher from Roosevelt High School in The Bronx, New York,
said that he
had used the literary works of Latino/a writers to prepare
ESL kids and had noticed positive results in the Regents exams.
In the English classroom, students feel a lack of personal
involvement, especially with isolated writing assignments.
Literature is filled with every day and common events and
bridge between reading and writing which connects students
to ideas and
themes. It is like seeing themselves in a mirror and assessing
where, how and why they are who they are while developing
writing skills necessary to enter and succeed in high school
education. How can students interact with their reading-writing
their choices of literature are far away from their every
Young adults today are open to options. Media moguls and
entertainment industries have captivated their interest because
have offered them options. Education must stay abreast with
challenges that our children face today. It is our responsibility
teachers, administrators, parents and educational advocates
them with innovations in their educational experience. According
statistics by the Department of Education, only 17 percent
fourth-graders read at their grade level. Imagine what may
the reading skills of these kids once they reach high school
by the end
of the decade, if there academic demands are not met wisely.
provide them with an opportunity to make literature their
own? If No
Child Left Behind reiterates that all children are provided
quality instruction that will give them the opportunity to
greatest academic potential, and it provides the resources
school districts need to fulfill this national priority, then
them with options. Latino/a literature in the English classroom
resource that should not be taken for granted and may redefine
literary analysis of contemporary American letters.
Like the previously mentioned Editorial states, “Disappointing
test results have many causes”, but one of them are the choices
administrators and teachers make for their children. Additional
in the study of young adult literature demonstrates that language
learned through use rather than through practice exercises.
children need to be given opportunities to make language their
making connections with their lives and background information.
A well-designed reading/writing program should provide opportunites
diverse daily reading and various types of writing. The classics
and will always be part of the American curriculum, but Latino/a
literature provides our children with a refreshening alternative
supplement a well-balanced reading-writing program and help
interest in reading and writing which will in return augment
the “nations report card”, the National Assessment of Educational