In 2014, children of color became the new majority in America’s public schools, so now more than ever, it’s important that classroom books and materials reflect today’s students.
Particularly for beginning readers, literacy learning should include multicultural content that affirms identity for all students.
How does a literacy coach or educator refresh or build a collection that reflects and celebrates today’s classroom and the uniqueness of each child?
Know that each title doesn’t need to represent all facets of our children and communities. Across a collection and reading levels, look to add a balance of gender, race, cultures, and family dynamics to recognize the diversity of today’s classroom and experiences of today’s students.
“Diversity is essential for students learning to read because they are for the first time stepping out of their world into a world that exists outside of themselves. As authors, we can put readers in the proximity of others. When we are around others, we can begin to understand different cultures and appreciate others’ differences. We write to extend boundaries. Each group has a gift. If we collect all of the gifts and put them together, we know love. As an author, I write to celebrate this–the heritage of cultural diversities.”
–Gaylia Taylor, retired Reading Recovery® and Bebop Books author, in her recent interview Creating Diverse Books for Leveled Reading: An Interview with Gaylia Taylor
How do you evaluate multicultural books for your Reading Recovery® collection?
Some of our current favorite guides for identifying quality diverse books (and avoiding pitfalls) here:
- Diversifying Your Classroom Book Collections? Avoid these 7 Pitfalls from Mind/Shift, KQED
- Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books from Social Justice Books, A Teaching for Change Project
- A Guide to Selecting Multicultural Literature by Dr. Barbara D. Brown, African Studies Center, Boston University
- A Checklist for Evaluating Diverse Children’s Media from The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop
- 10 Criteria for Choosing Diverse Texts in Your Classroom from the Writing Mindset
- Classroom Libraries as Windows and Mirrors: Ensuring Diverse, Representative Books for Our Students 2018 ILA expert panel (Answer starts at minute 03:05)
- Assessing Children’s Literature from the Anti-Defamation League
- Diverse Classroom Libraries for K–6 Students from Reading Rockets
- Read more from Finding the Best Diverse Books for Your Classroom on The Open Book by Lee & Low’s Senior Director of Curriculum & Literacy Strategy.
Read more from the experts:
- The Importance of Diversity in Leveled Readers by Dr. Lisa Pinkerton
- Just Choosing Diverse Books is Not Enough: Let’s Make Curriculum Connections by Dr. Towanda Harris
- How Inclusive is Your Literacy Classroom Really by Tricia Ebarvia