My first grade class is made up of twenty first graders who are all English language learners and come in each day eager to learn. Many of the students are children of immigrant parents who do not speak English and are able to provide them with limited academic support. Many of the students come from low-income backgrounds which make it difficult for families to contribute to the cost of purchasing resources and books for the classroom. My desire is to provide my students with the tools and resources they need in the classroom to further enhance their learning.
Reading is a core part of the first grade curriculum and a seamless way to expose young students to important topics. With this variety of wonderful children books I would be able to share a variety of rich topics about equity, diversity, and social justice with my students. Whether it's about people who are different, an affirmation of their identity, or a book that shares stories of people who stood up to injustices; elementary school is a time ripe for these discussions.
These books will enable the children to gain insight into concepts such as the importance of respecting differences.
Books often act as windows that enable us to see the world from a perspective different than our own. It is also important that we see ourselves reflected in some of the stories we read, so that we understand that our own stories are important and valued.
Provided that teachers have the right tools and resources and use developmentally appropriate language and activities, teaching about these concepts is rich and engaging for children, laying the groundwork for more sophisticated understanding when they are older.
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