A Diverse Library (Reading to Eradicate Racism Pt. 2)
Help me give my students a library that is diverse and will help to open their eyes to other cultures.
I'm fortunate to teach a group of first-grade students who are very enthusiastic about learning. My students love to be challenged and are continuously working hard, both inside and outside of the classroom. One of the biggest ways I try to foster their love for learning is through reading. We have so many conversations (even the tough ones!) based on the stories we read.
The books I have selected all have themes of racial equality, acceptance, and the meaning of white privilege. These may seem like heavy topics for 6-7-year-olds but given recent events in our county, I believe I would be doing my students an injustice by turning a blind eye and staying quiet.
Research has shown that by kindergarten, children show many of the same racial attitudes held by the adults in their lives.
They have already learned to associate some groups with a higher status than others. Explicit conversations with children about interracial friendships can dramatically improve their racial attitudes in as little as a single week. Imagine what an entire school year could do.
It is my responsibility, as a teacher to educate future generations on how to be active allies to all minority groups in order to have a more peaceful world that is filled with love and acceptance. These picture books will guide us through those tough conversations but inevitably will teach children invaluable lessons on citizenship.
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