I manage a reading center ran by a national non-profit at a Title I school. By the end of this academic year, we will have 55 students benefiting from our services! Our students may have some nerves about reading, but that does not hold them back from trying. They are energetic, happy, and are ready to learn something new every day.
Research shows that 60% of our low-income students have 0 books at home.
Our school is nestled in a low-income area, but it a high-passion community. Most mornings, our students can be found in the cafeteria eating breakfast with their parents and younger siblings. During the day, when they are not in a class, they are chatting away on the playground, asking questions of their teachers, or begrudgingly wondering why there are always veggies included in their lunch.
This is our first year running a reading center at this particular school, and the community has already welcomed us with open arms. I truly cannot wait to see what this year has in store!
Do you remember what it was like the first time you saw yourself represented in a book? I remember the first time I picked up "Julian is a Mermaid" and thought, "Wow! It's okay for boys to be fabulous!" I want my students to be able to pick up a book and see their skin color, culture, holidays, hair type, etc. represented.
Representation is important because it validates our experiences, and who we are as a person.
Our school is made up of 40% Black students, 11% Hispanic, 36% Asian/Pacific Islander, and the remaining 13% are white students or multiracial students.
All of those kiddos deserve the empowerment of seeing themselves represented in literature. Although our space is new at the school, we are working hard to make it a positive learning environment in which we are setting up every student for success!
The books we have chosen will push us towards this goal, as will the few items meant to decorate the space. Think about how much you love reading in a cozy chair, next to a fireplace, with some cocoa in hand. This is the same for kids! They want to read somewhere that is cozy and comfortable. This will not only promote reading inside of our reading center but also out in the world!
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