Ciardiello is a credible fellow :)

After reading Ciardiello’s article, my mind was turning.  He has made all of the work and research we’ve conducted even more credible.  Every teacher need to read this article to make our young learners more than just young learner…we can make them young heroes.  Young heroes will eventually become responsible, well-informed, active citizens.  They will be able to live their lives with a global and local perspective.

With the help of Ciardiello’s five critical literacy practices (2004), I think my Let’s Hold Hands project will be implemented smoothly

                -Regaining one’s identity

                -Examining multiple perspectives

                -The call of service

                -Recognizing social barriers and crossing borders of separation

                -Finding an authentic voice (Ciardiello, 2004).

If my kids and I can cover all five of these practices during our unit, I will be thrilled!

Regaining one’s identity:

When Ciardiello tried to have a conversation with students regarding self-identity with no reference point or preface, the kiddos drew a blank.  However, after reading Shange’s White Wash to the students, they were more prepared for discussion.  The students we able to identify and empathize with the main character who had been tormented due to her skin color.  Whereas my kindergarteners may not understand the term self-identity or self-worth, they have big hearts and they can demonstrate empathy.  Multicultural books can evoke critical discussions and can allow our students to think a bit deeper.

I am bummed I no longer have kiddos to try this “experiment” with my kids.  I wanted to buy this book from Amazon, but strangely, the cheapest one I could find was still $24.95!  I usually don’t have this problem with Amazon – Guess I’ll keep my eyes open for it when rummaging through my favorite used bookstores!

Examining multiple perspectives:

Since watching the TED video this week, I understand the importance in reading kiddos books with multiple perspectives and standpoints – and how that can directly affect their writing!

I think Ciardiello’s take on involving the students in “adult decisions,” such as segregated school is very bold.  He, of course is working with seventh graders as I would be working with kindergarteners.  I do however, see nothing wrong with introducing topics such as segregation, it is part of our nation’s history; there is no reason to shelter them from past issues.  The most important part for me, as an educator would be to celebrate our current “situation” in schools and how awesome it is that we can freely learn together and we can all be friends, America, the melting pot.

In Tonatiuh’s colorfully illustrated Dear Primo (2009), he addresses two different perspectives of cousins living in different areas of the world.  Whereas their lifestyles are quite different, it’s still easy to nail down their similarities.

 The call of service:

This section was completely relevant.  In both of my two years teaching, I, of course, taught citizenship through me and my community units, etc…but this section took citizenship and government studies to a new level.  Ciardiello makes note of the fact that “civil and moral activism of children can make a difference in adults’ lives” (2004).  Many Multicultural books, such as Susan L. Roth’s Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books (2012) give hope to young learners that they CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  This theme will be entwined throughout my Let’s Hold Hands studies.  My classroom will be full of dreamers with high hopes!

Recognizing social barriers and crossing borders of separation:

Whereas Ciardiello makes references to seventh graders’ experiences with exclusion, it starts as early as kindergarten.  Kiddos are unfortunately “left out” of opportunities and social setting at young ages.  Exclusion can be as small as not being “asked” to swing with the other girls on the playground and as large as unorganized segregation in schools. Kiddos need to be aware of what exclusion and separation looks like in different settings.  If they are able to identify it, they are more likely to stand up AGAINST it, put a stop to it, and be that young hero we have promoted during class-time.  Believe it or not, kids as young as 5 can “motivate, and empower [other]  young people to act as citizens of the world, and what extraordinary actions future generations will take” (Christie, E., Montgomery, S., & Staudt, J., 2012).

Finding Authentic Voice:

We all have our own voice, just as we all have our own fingerprint.  Our voice can represent us and what we believe in.  Students need to know at a young age that they have the freedom to express themselves.  It’s hard for students to understand the division of power, but I liked the way Ciardiello broke it down as family roles for younger children. 


Chapter 15 of Multicultural and international books presents that “parents and society may purposely or inadvertently program children to mistrust, fear or even hate certain group of people who are unlike them.”  I can’t stop any ignorant learned behaviors that are inherited in my students’ households, but hopefully my multicultural readings and Let’s Hold Hands project will inspire my students to have a globally-accepting attitude.  They are my young heroes!



Christie, E., Montgomery, S., & Staudt, J. (2012). Little by little: Global citizenship through local action. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 8-11. Retrieved from

Ciardiello, V. (2004). Democrac’ys young heros: An instructional model of critical literacy practice. The International Reading Association, 58(2), 138-147. Retrieved from

Multicultural and international books. (pp. 193-204). Pearson. Retrieved from

Roth, S. (2012). Hands around the library: Protecting egypt’s treasured books. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.

Shange, N. (1998). White wash. (1st ed.). New York, NY: Walker and Company.

Tonatiuh, D. (2009). Dear primo. New York, NY: Abrams Books.



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