My school is a Title I school in East Oakland that consists primarily of economically disadvantaged students from countries across the globe. These students face a variety of daily challenges in their home lives, so time spent at school should be meaningful and memorable. My students show up to school every morning excited for what lies ahead that day.
Poverty can affect every aspect of a child’s development, limiting their personal, educational, and social development.
Despite the fact that my students may not be living in an ideal living situation, this does not dampen their love of learning. Students who may be living in turmoil find it comforting to come to class where there are opportunities to see the world from other viewpoints. My job is to expose them to opportunities that they would not experience in their home lives.
Reading books with children at a young age not only helps them be better prepared for school, but it also opens their minds to new cultures and experiences. Exposing children in first and second grade to both “mirror” and “window” books – that is, books in which they can see themselves, and books in which they can learn about others- is the best way to create engaged readers and support social and emotional learning. Books in this project have been selected for the girls in my room but may also be of interest to the other students as well.
We can gain role models and inspiration through the use of diverse literature.
I believe if we had more diverse children’s books, that had a broad range of characters in many different jobs and situations, as well as more diverse role models both girls and boys would feel empowered, and they’d believe that when they grow up, they could be anyone and do anything they wanted. And they’d look at their friends and think the same for them, and they’d grow up respecting and appreciating everyone’s talents.
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