Tag Archives: reading

Students Add Diversity To Their Classroom Library

At Hamlin, students never hesitate to honor our mission and “meet the challenges of their time.” Last year students in Grade 4 discovered that many of the books in their classroom library were outdated and didn’t truly represent diverse voices. Of the over 1,000 books, not many addressed topics like: non-traditional family structures, sexual orientation, gender identity, or the nuance of cultural identity. For example, one student found that most of the books about African-Americans were about the Civil Rights Movement, and didn’t connect to her life in 2019.

Using the website We Need Diverse Books, our girls were able to find a wider range of titles for their classroom reading pleasure. Working with their teachers, students ordered these new books from Ms. Cardone in our main library and from the San Francisco Public Library. After vetting several books, students then wrote a persuasive essay explaining why a particular book was important to them. Girls also took the opportunity to share their favorite books with each other, doing some wonderful peer-to-peer teaching.

The last component of this 6-week project was an invitation to speak with Hamlin administrators at a SCOPE meeting (our Standing Committee On Program Excellence). A group of girls articulated the importance of adding these 30 books to the Grade 4 library. Impressed, SCOPE members asked for a budget to purchase the new books.

These girls, (now Grade 5 students) came back down to the Lower School and unveiled the more diverse books for their younger peers. Their thoughtful work has created a legacy that future readers will enjoy for many moons.

 

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 9/23/2015

CS_supporter_school-BIGKids may express reluctance toward reading for a variety of reasons. But, Common Sense can provide some guidance for reluctant readers. 

As with anything kids would rather not do, forcing them, comparing them to other kids, and using other negative reinforcements backfire. Following are some ideas to encourage kids to read: 

Encourage reading for funWimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney says that sometimes adults focus so much on getting kids to read they forget about the fun. But kids who are having fun will read. 

Go graphic. There are many high-quality graphic novels that draw in readers through illustrations, short-form text, and engrossing story lines. 

Seek out sports. For kids who’d rather be physically active than read a book, consider books about teams or by athletes, such as You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter about the famous lefty; Hothead by Cal Ripken Jr.; or other books about sports

Think big print. The Here’s Hank series by Henry Winkler features a dyslexic hero and a large, easy-to-read typeface. 

Let them follow their interests. You may not love Captain Underpants, but if that’s what your kid wants to read, put aside your judgment for the greater good. 

Find characters who reflect your kid’s experience. Kids like to see themselves in the stories they read. Look for books with characters and situations that mirror their experience – for example, kids of color or with divorced parents or who live on a farm or who love dogs. Whatever helps kids identify with the story will keep them more engaged. 

Look for different reading opportunities. Reading is valuable no matter what the format: Pokemon cards, product labels, game manuals, recipes. Mix in shorter-form material with longer stuff. 

Get techy. Ebooks and storybook apps that offer some multimedia along with the narrative can be entertaining and educational and may draw in kids who are turned off by text alone. Use them alongside traditional reading. 

Fact-check. With their amazing stats, incredible images, short-form text, and start-anywhere formats, books of facts such as Guinness World Records and Ripley’s Believe It or Not entice kids who’d rather not tackle longer stories. 

Take turns. With a book your kid has chosen, take turns reading a page (or two) to each other. Ask questions along the way. 

Enjoy the week! 

love reading