“Reading with all the Senses” a dramatic new bilingual program created by the Circle of Women and the Older Women of Miramar
Twenty seven Mixtec women with twenty seven glorious handmade dolls walked across the stage in Miramar to receive their graduation certificates. The women had completed a two year bilingual literacy program and now could tell the stories of their dolls in written and spoken Spanish.
The program designed by Patricia Tovar, Phd, Director of Projects, combined art, drawing, painting, music and sculpture as a way to increase the facileness of their fingers and imaginations. They moved from the understanding of the drawings as symbols to the recognition of words as symbols as well. This method also helped them to understand texts as an extension of their own experience and self discovery. This process reflects and reinforces cultural identity while developing skills in bilingual concepts and intercultural communication.
In two years all these older Mixtec speaking women are reading and writing in Spanish! And each has a doll for which she can speak. These are their first dolls ever.
The curriculum, “Reading with all the Senses” enables the student to clear pathways to learning without being immobilized by past learning experiences and trauma. This is definitely made easier in an environment of mutual support with Mixtec speaking teachers trained by Dr. Tovar.
The project has produced a manual of the program which will now be tried with young girls, women in neighboring villages, and women prisoners in Oaxaca City. Our graduates will form a book club which meets on a regular basis to keep up their skills.
An extraordinary program with extraordinary results.