Teaching: Dancing Words

Daisy, an eight-year-old Puerto Rican girl, started to cry whenever her third-grade teacher began a reading lesson—but she grinned when the class sang to the tune of Frere Jacques: "Are you happy, are you happy?" Edward, a Negro first-grader, stared at his reader, eyes glazed—but he joined in when everybody sang, "Good night, room; good night, light; good night, window." Nicky, a third-grader whose family had just arrived from Puerto Rico, grunted only a few words in class: "Yes," "No," "Thirsty"—but he flailed his arms along with the others in pantomime to...

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