Reading is the key that opens doors throughout our lives. My students need to learn that reading is not just about speed and accuracy. Reading can be entertaining, as well as eye opening. The more we know, the more we can connect to the different people and cultures in our communities.
My students are wonderful people who are excited to learn.
They want to know more than I can teach in a single year and desperately need to reach the next level in reading comprehension. Test scores have been improving year after year and my students need more access to quality literature with which they connect. They are on the path to college, and they know there is a larger world beyond their community. For students who don't have the money to take vacations and explore the world, books allow them to see what could possibly be in their futures. My students are ready to set goals, and culturally relevant literature will help them open their minds, understand who they are, and dream.
My class would be ecstatic to include a culturally relevant African American literature section to our classroom library. I have a number of African American students who have never had the opportunity to visit, or even study, where their ancestors came from. Reading books about their culture would be incredibly motivating. Books like, African American Art For Young People, Aida, All Us Come Cross The Water, Count Your Way Through Africa, Dancing Granny, Lillie of Watts, Seven Candles for Kwanzaa, and Songs and Stories from Uganda would help students see that other cultures are beautiful and special. For students who live in a community that is often looked at through a negative lens, they need to see that they come from a long line of courageous, hard-working, and innovative people. Using the recommended books I have selected will allow students to apply the comprehension strategies and skills they are learning in a more meaningful way.
Please help us expand our classroom library to include more culturally relevant literature.
By exposing students to books they can relate to, they will see there is more to reading than achieving a set rate of words per minute. Reading is about extracting information from text and using it to enhance their lives. Becoming active readers will see them through an ever changing world.
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