Our school is located in Richfield, Minnesota, a first-ring suburb just south of Minneapolis. 45% of our student population at our school identify as Hispanic, making up the largest segment of the student body. Many of these students are English Language Learners. Over 65% of our students also participate in the free and reduced lunch program. We are a 6th - 8th grade middle school organized into grade-level teams. Our school offers a variety of specialized services such as: Gifted/Talented, Special Education, DLI (dual language immersion in Spanish), ELL, and Reading and Math tier classes.
We have an amazing group of sixth-grade students actively working to improve their reading skills and become lifelong readers.
Reading engagement is the foundation for building successful readers and a strong reading environment.
As humans, we seek out and enjoy connections, so it is important for students to have the opportunity to engage in texts that relate to their experiences, cultures, and interests. Equally important is offering students a view into others' experiences through text. Students cannot truly learn about themselves unless they learn about others as well. Finding the right book is one of the biggest obstacles for reluctant readers. In my quest to build a more diverse collection of books, I hope to remove that obstacle for my students and get them reading.
Part of our reading workshop model allows for student choice in book selection. When we have books on our shelves with characters who do not represent our students and their issues, we are pushing them out rather than inviting them into the world of reading.
We need diverse books because they help our students connect more deeply with literature. It is important for students to see themselves and their unique issues in the books they are reading.
Our individual stories are what makes us human. I would like our class book collection to represent a collection of literature that is both a mirror of our humanity and a window into the wider world.
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