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Journal > The Reading Teacher

Building Arab Americans' Cultural Identity and Acceptance With Children's Literature

by Tami Craft Al-Hazza and Katherine T. Bucher

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Building Arab Americans' Cultural Identity and Acceptance With Children's Literature

Grades 3 – 5
Type Journal
Published November 2008
Publisher International Reading Association



Literature can help children develop their own cultural identity, as it helps them understand and appreciate the culture of others. Research shows that in elementary schools some Arab American students are not exposed to stories that represent their culture. In addition, many teachers are not familiar with literature about Arabs or Arab Americans. What is often missing from the elementary curriculum is well-written children's literature that accurately reflects the heritage of Arabs, eliminates stereotypes, and presents a positive image of Arabs and Arab Americans that will strengthen the self-identity of Arab American students as it introduces other students to the Arab culture. This article provides information to help elementary teachers learn about the Arab culture, select books about Arabs and Arab Americans, and use this literature to promote cultural awareness and improve comprehension.

Al-Hazza, T., & Bucher, K.T. (2008, November). Building Arab Americans' Cultural Identity and Acceptance With Children's Literature. The Reading Teacher, 62(3), 210219. doi: 10.1598/RT.62.3.3


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