How Deep Is Our Commitment?

{Infographic showing the results of a diverse books survey}

{Infographic showing the results of a diverse books survey}

As this data shows, there is a clear need for increasing the number of diverse books in schools in order to accurately reflect the population served. 

But where to start?


1) GOOGLE. 

👨🏻‍💻Go online and search the demographics of your school. If you can’t find that information, look for the district’s demographics. If you’re at a public or charter school, student demographic data is public information. You should be able to find it fairly easily.


2) NOTE. 

✍🏿Write down the data. 

example.: Here’s the racial/ethnicity information for NYC as of 9/2019:

    • 40.5% Latinx

    • 26.0% Black

    • 16.1% Asian

    • 15.0% White


3) REFLECT. 

💭 What does this data tell me?

💭 Is this data in line with my perceptions?

💭 What, if anything, surprises me about this data?


4) SCAN. 

👀 Take a moment to mentally scan your school/classroom library and/or the books that you teach. Don’t do anything more than scan. The point is to just begin thinking about the discrepancies that may exist between #2 and #4. 


🔜 Next week, we will venture into the second half of the auditing process and discuss tallying up the books in your school/classroom.

❤️💛💙💚🧡

Yours in Literacy,

Sheila 😊

We Need Diverse Books

{Image of a wooden bookstore sign that reads “BOOKS”}

{Image of a wooden bookstore sign that reads “BOOKS”}

As a new school year approaches, many teachers are getting their classrooms student-ready. Interactive notebooks, sharpened pencils, and germ-free desks (ha!) eagerly await the day when they will become an integral part of student life.⁠

But what about the books? 📚⁠

Powerful initiatives like @WeNeedDiverseBooks encourage educators to regularly place a broad spectrum of texts in students’ hands. Expert Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings posits that diverse books serve as both mirrors and windows to the world. Students who see themselves reflected in literature gain a sense of validation that their voices matter. That THEY matter. Concurrently, diverse books provide a glimpse into the lives of people who may be different from the reader in some way. From there, empathy grows. 💓⁠

I first started taking a deep dive into diversifying curricula and my class library about twenty years ago. Back then, there weren’t as many published books featuring people of color in non-stereotypical roles. Today, books like The King of Kindergarten, Front Desk, and The Hate U Give are available for student immersion in ways that make my heart swell. 🥰⁠

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share some of the lessons that I learned (and continue to learn!) about integrating diverse books in the classroom. ⁠

Won’t you join me? ❤️⁠

Yours in Literacy,

Sheila 😊