My students are creative, energetic, and fearless. In addition to traditional American literature, I want the books we read to reflect all of their best qualities. Living in a small and rural community, there is little opportunity that surrounds us. We are in need of upgraded books that mirror the diverse student population. To read about people who like you and go through same experiences as you is no small matter.
Many of my students experience poverty, speak English as a second language, and struggle at grade level reading.
I believe that the books students read should empower them. My students deserve books that are relevant and meaningful to them. They deserve books will showcase characters who are similar to them. They deserve books that take them on a journey, energize their minds, and instill a love for reading in their hearts.
There is nothing more empowering than reading. Literacy is essential to not only having a voice, but creating one that reflects personal values and beliefs. In my American literature class, we read the standard classics that canon has deemed important. True, there is no match for The Great Gatsby when discussing the American Dream. Nor can The Crucible be replaced when it's time to dive into McCarthyism and the Red Scare. While the classics have rightly earned their place amongst the literary greats, there is an overwhelming need to explore the diverse voices of American youth.
I teach in a rural school district that is far from much opportunity.
My students experience more than any child ever should. However, they come to school everyday, energetic and ready to learn. These kids, though still engaged with Gatsby after all these years, deserve and updated English Language Arts curriculum that reflects their diverse qualities. There is a desperate need to evolve into a multicultural centered education.
As a start, I am requesting a variety of 25 diverse books that focus on contemporary American Voices. I have selected 5 different titles that showcase a plethora of social issues such as race, sexuality, and culture. These are the issues that students are struggling to understand today. Additionally, the main characters reflect those that are not often featured in canonical literature. By having these books in my classroom, my students will be able to expand their minds, experience the powerfulness of literacy, and continue sharing their voices with the world.
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