Literature at Momilani


In Literature class students are read-aloud to and invited to interject questions about difficult or complicated issues that are happening to the characters in the book. Reading aloud is not just for younger children! Listening to books builds vocabulary, language and literacy skills, and with regular practice improves concentration, curiosity, and memory. Books allow students to develop awareness of people outside their experiences. 

Sample literature selection titled Harvesting Hope
Sample literature selection titled Lemonade Club
Sample literature selection titled Be Good to Eddie Lee

They learn that there are people out there who are a lot worse off than them, people growing up with real disadvantages. The more they understand, the more they can empathize.

They listen about characters who felt a commitment to take a stand and make things right (Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull) and the importance of having the integrity to do the right thing (A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting and A Passage to Freedom by Ken Mochizuki).

They learn about characters who possessed an attitude that embraced challenges and never gave up (Honda--The Boy Who Dreamed of Cars by Mark Weston).  Students listen and empathize with characters who are going through a difficult time in their life, which they may one day relate to and know what to do (The Lemonade Club by Patricia Polacco and My Secret Bully by Traci Ludwig).

They recognize that we all have differences, which they should embrace, because coming together in a caring, respectful, and productive way is the way to ensure the safety, dignity, and respect of all people (The Green Apple by Eve Bunting and Be Good to Eddie Lee by Virginia Fleming). 

They find out war does not only affect humans (Faithful Elephants by Yukio Tsuchiya) and that sometimes it just takes one person to set the ball rolling in the right direction (One Plastic Bag Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of Gambia by Miranda Paul).

“The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.” ― Margaret Chase Smith, in the book, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World.

Meet the Team

Mrs. Lynn Wakahiro

Mrs. Wakahiro

Mrs. Wakahiro has been a teacher since 1992. She attended Momilani Elementary School as a child, and her two children attended, as well. Mrs. Wakahiro has a B.Ed and a Master of Education from the University of Hawaii. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Childhood-Middle School Literacy.  Mrs. Wakahiro had her start in teaching on the Leeward coast, and then taught at Waipahu schools before coming to Momilani in 2004. During her career, she has been a classroom teacher in grades 1-3, but now that she is a resource teacher, she is having a great time supporting all the grade levels. She spends most of her time doing whole-class reading lessons in the grade 3-6 classrooms, but also leads a team of part-time teachers who do RTI (Response to Intervention) on a daily basis. 

In addition, Mrs. Wakahiro is the advisor for the Student Leadership Team, which is a motivated, select group of students from grades 5 and 6 who use the Design Thinking process to recognize needs in their community and formulate solutions, using a collaborative, creative approach. She loves the creative aspect of her job, and particularly enjoys having discussions about books. Encouraging young people to think deeply, and hopefully, get a life lesson out of it is a passion of hers! In her free time, Lynn attends numerous soccer games and enjoys traveling and going to amusement parks with her husband and kids.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Mrs. Lisa Nishihara

Mrs. Nishihara

Mrs. Nishihara has been teaching with the DOE since 1987, arriving at Momilani  Elementary School in 1994. She graduated from the University of Hawaii with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Psychology. She also earned a Professional Diploma in Elementary Education.  Mrs. Nishihara has taught Kindergarten and Grade 1 for most of her teaching career.  Moving into a Literacy Resource Teacher position is something new and exciting for her.  She looks forward to challenging the students to go deeper in their thinking and understanding of various text types.  Mrs. Nishihara loves reading and would like to ignite the same passion in her students.

In her spare time Mrs. Nishihara enjoys reading romantic novels and professional articles and books.  She wakes up early each morning and does a bootcamp workout class before coming to school.  This rejuvenates her and gets her ready for the day!

Mrs. Lee

Mrs. Lee grew up in Southern California and earned both her Bachelor's Degree and teaching credential at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She started her teaching career in the Bay Area where she taught both 2nd and 3rd grade for 5 years. Mrs. Lee moved to Hawaii in 2020, and continued to tutor and build confidence in her previous students virtually. She is looking forward to teaching 1st grade at Momilani Elementary and creating a space for students to grow as learners, learn to take risks, and become kind and compassionate humans who strive to be the best they can be. 

Mrs. Lee loves sharing her passion for ocean conservation with her students. When she is not at school, you can almost always find her at the beach. She enjoys snorkeling, paddling, and spending time with friends and family.

Mrs. Sandy Barnett

Mrs. Barnett

I have been teaching since 1989…started at Nanaikapono Elementary for one year; moved to Nanakuli High & Intermediate for 12 years, teaching high school Special Education Math/ Science and 7th grade Social Studies/Health; and now I’ve been at Momilani Elementary since then, in 5th grade. It’s a wonderful feeling when I see the sparkle in a student’s eyes as they grasp concepts and skills that were challenging. Mostly, I love watching them grow into responsible, confident, and independent learners as I get to know them through our 10 months together.  My motto is: “Attitude is everything!”

I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Professional Diploma Degree in Elementary Education. I enjoy the outdoors, especially tent camping and fishing.  When I find some alone time from my 3 children, I like to read suspense and romantic novels.  Traveling is an activity I hope to pursue after I retire, which is hopefully not too far from the present.  I got married in October 2017 and am now Mrs. Barnett. Lastly, in December 2017, I have become a National Board Certified Teacher.  This process was long and arduous, but most rewarding, as I got to better myself as a teacher and continue to do so.

Mr. Todd Tashiro

Mr. Tashiro

Mr. Tashiro has been teaching since 1988.  For the first 10 years of his career, he taught at Nanakuli High and Intermediate School.  Since then, he has been spent the rest of his years at Momilani Elementary School. His teaching experience includes teaching 7th to 12 grade students Math and English, including teaching Geometry and Algebra II, and 7th grade Math.  At Momilani, he has taught Math and Science up to the present. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education and a Professional Diploma in Elementary Education from the University of Hawaii.

He has also been coaching for the past 35 years and has coached high school baseball for 10 years at Nanakuli High school. The most rewarding experience was to win “Coach of the Year in Baseball" while coaching at Nanakuli High School.  His interests are in baseball, football, basketball, tennis, soccer and golf.