“Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Eight: Little Orphan Cuca,” written by Norma Landa Flores and available on digital download @teacherspayteachers.com, is a 26 page Short Story and Oral Communication, ESL Pronunciation and Reader’s Theatre Lesson that features the story entitled, “Episode Eight: Little Orphan Cuca.” It is the eighth in a collection of 17 interrelated short stories about Cuca, an undocumented immigrant girl who makes her way from Mexico to Texas and Arizona to settle in with her aunt Miriam and cousin Dora in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles, California, in 1929. The Saga takes place from 1924-1937. Each episode ends with an epilogue that reinforces pronunciation and assesses pronunciation skills, and is independent of the previous episode.
This material is suitable for students in grades 6-9 and above. In addition, the content is very helpful for any age level student learning English as a Second Language or for Special Education students having difficulty articulating [d] [ð] [θ] or substituting [ t ]
[ d ] or [ f-s-t ] for these sounds. “ Oral Communication of Reader’s Theatre Prose Episode Eight: Little Orphan Cuca,” encourages verbal communication, cooperation and oral collaboration.
Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Eight: Little Orphan Cuca, Contents
[ d ] Central Voiced, [ ð ] Front Voiced and [ θ ] Front Unvoiced Consonant Functional Articulation Pre-Assessment .....3
Collaborating on Club Minerva’s Minutes, 1929 ..... 4
The Minervas Are In the Gringo Newspaper! .....6
A Halloween Telegram Sends Cuca to Los Angeles ..... 10
Cuquita Describes How Her Brother Was Killed .....13
Epilogue:“My Sister Carries the Cross!” .....17
[ d ] [ ð ] [θ] Articulation Grades .....18
Multiple Choice Questions for Discussion & Scores .....19
[ d ] [ ð ] [θ] Consonant Functional Articulation
Contexts & Standards-Based Criteria for
Assessing [ d ] [ ð ] [θ] .....21
Appendix: Suggestions for the Teacher/Facilitator ..... 22
First Suggestion: Oral Communication
About the Short Story ..... 23
Second Suggestion: [ d ] [ ð ] [ θ ] Consonant
Assessments . .....24
Third Suggestion:Oral Interpretation, Reader’s Theatre,.....25
Stage, Play, Broadcast, etc.
Peroration and Copyright Information..... 26
A wonderful bonus is that this Episode serves as a sample for writing a short story for Reader’s Theatre or Oral Interpretation of Literature, bilingually, because the text is rich in dialogue. The Episode is brief enough to edit into a classroom or speech tournament presentation.
Furthermore, it improves pronunciation in a relevant, student-centered method too. The most important lesson to be taken from this Episode is that the Statue of Liberty’s promise to immigrants can be fulfilled through collaborative strategies. That is what Dora’s YWCA club, Las Minervas does to make recent Boyle Heights immigrants become more stable and less of an economic strain in the community.
That is what Miriam and Dora do when they agree to take care of Cuca and make sure she learns to speak English. All in all, this Episode highlights how Cuca decides to overcome pessimism with optimism.Even though her Dia De Los Muertos memories were saddened by her brother’s death, Cuca looks forward to future Happy Halloweens in Boyle Heights, “It’s only natural!” Cuca claims. Language Arts Teachers, Librarians, Community Cultural Enrichment Tutors, Enjoy!