November is Native American Heritage month, which provides fantastic opportunities to learn about the history, traditions and culture of indigenous people. WriteReader is the perfect space to learn about, reflect on and preserve these traditions.
Preserving language through stories
Indigenous languages are an essential part of the traditions and culture of each tribe. Languages, interwoven through everyday use, provide a sense of identity and belonging to many indigenous people. However, the use of traditional Native languages are in decline and sadly, will fade away without preservation.
In the example below, a teacher from the Rocky Boy Reservation in Montana has created a book using traditional Cree words to name several animals she encounters on walks with her Nohtawi, or father. She used the microphone on each page to add the pronunciation of each Cree word.
Click here to read Wren Kemp’s story, When I Go for a Walk with Nohtawi
The callouts feature available on images can also be used to add labels to each page, with the Native vocabulary word highlighted on each page, like in this example:
Add these labels by clicking the callouts button on the image, then clicking the + sign and adding a label or speech bubble.
This book can be used as a teaching tool for students to read and enjoy, and inspiration for students to create their own stories using traditional language throughout their books. Learn more and find additional resources for teaching and learning Native American language at: https://www.powwows.com/learning-a-native-american-language/
WriteReader can also be used to create picture dictionaries of traditional indigenous languages. These can be teacher-created, like the example below, to be used as a reference for students as they learn the language and write. The teacher-created book will be on the students’ WriteReader bookshelf to refer to throughout class.
Click here to view the beginning of this Cree dictionary
The dictionary can also be provided to students as a template. When they click on the template, it will create each student their own copy that they can add to throughout the year as they learn new words. Learn more about using template books in WriteReader here.
It is important to focus not only on the history of Native American culture, but also the present and future. WriteReader provides a wonderful opportunity for students to create their own stories and share their experiences in their own families and what their culture, traditions and heritage mean to them.
In this example, Winter Whitford has written a story about traveling to a powwow. She has included her own photographs to add details and tell her story.
Click here to read Winter Whitford’s book, Pow-wow Trail
Providing students with the opportunity to tell stories about their families, heritage and traditions helps them make connections with writing and become excited about the stories they tell. Sharing these stories with others is a great way of preserving these traditions.
How do you plan to share or ask students to share about their heritage, culture and traditions using WriteReader? We’d love to see what you and your students create! Tag us on social media @writereaderapp.