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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Creating Books for Use in Language Revitalization Classrooms: Considerations and Outcomes

Published Web Location Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

In this paper, I examine the development, implementation, and results of utilizing three types of storybooks in a language revitalization classroom for students ages 5-12 learning Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec, an indigenous language of southern Mexico. Although each method used for creating books in Zapotec generated a positive reaction from students and parents, I consider the ways in which each method facilitates student learning while also problematizing the cultural authenticity of the classroom. Based on classroom observations, a parent focus group, and student interviews, I conclude that the most effective method for storybook creation involved students creating their own book modeled on a pre-existing book written in the non-indigenous language. This student-created book generated sustained interest in the language and allowed for students to shape the materials into something that was culturally relevant for them personally.

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