By Dr. Kamshia Childs | Categories All | Challenges | Choices | Diversity | Engagement - Family | Inclusion | K-5 Literacy | Listening | Opportunity Gap | Social Emotional Learning | October 15, 2021

Opportunities to sharpen our literacy skills are all around us. Unfortunately, due to a variety of reasons (lack of support/resources at home, irrelevant curriculum, etc.) students can often be disengaged with literacy learning early in life. Once that foundation is shaken, it is tough to rebuild and instill the skills, confidence, and attitude necessary to be successful in the journey to be literate.

There is a huge disconnect.   However, our students explore language everyday—we must make them aware of it, and show them how their knowledge and informal language is not too far distant from the formal academic knowledge required in today’s classrooms. Teachers and the outside learning community can instill a love for literacy if they focus on clarity of learning, opportunity, value, and enhancement of lessons. With “L.O.V.E.” teachers, parents and students can get students to see the relevancy of literacy skills beyond their use for academic purposes.

 

What is L.O.V.E.?

Learning- Many parents lack knowledge in the academic skills required of today’s students as it relates to literacy.  Educators often teach skills in isolation or at a “surface” level.  Parents and teachers often times try to spark the passion of literacy learning too late for some students and not early enough for others.  It boils downs to “do you know the basic skills that your students (or children) need to learn?” Literacy learning must include a combination of motivation and innovative repetition of skills.  Learning should always be a chance to fine-tune knowledge. The challenge, is that it must be done in a manner than resonates with students (and parents in order to be able to support). Most important, learning should contain a variety of opportunities to explore concepts- new and old.

 

Opportunity- Students need the opportunity to transcend and explore the world and their surroundings. A strong literacy foundation promotes exposure to additional opportunities in education.  A literate child is given the opportunity to be exposed to creative works, and is capable of producing and using their skillset to work in many different subjects and tasks. The improvement of literacy skills is always presents a learning opportunity (as literacy learning is truly complex).  When building a literacy foundation, we should be in search of learning opportunities and resources that are simple to implement and put into practice.  Improving student literacy and the process of “why” we read, write, and communicate is a learning opportunity in itself.

 

Valued- Students will retain information that is valued and applicable. Learning new literary skills must be an experience that students can have some ownership in. Making connections to their experiences and the importance of the skills they are learning is essential.  Literacy should be a valued “stepping stone” to a vast field of knowledge in other content areas. Not only should the academic value of literacy skills be taught, but the manner in which literacy accompanies societal tasks and processes is how true value is expressed.

 

Enhanced- Lessons and skills related to reading and writing should always offer room to further explore. They should enhance and leave room to extend steps higher in order for students to grow, reach, and explore at another time. At times, it will be necessary for open-ended tasks to be encouraged in literacy learning. However, skills should never be introduced in solely in isolation without a clear path of guiding students to a place where they are motivated to improve.

 

Importance of Incorporating L.O.V.E.

This post stems from the book that I wrote for teachers and parents a few years ago, titled “29 Days to L.O.V.E. Literacy”.  It was written with the hopes of building a world or readers, writers, and thinkers who appreciate literacy in all forms, and respect the importance of such a valuable skill.  We must move beyond the process of sharing with students “how to read” (although very important), and share the value of “why to read”.

 

 

More Information on “29 Days to L.O.V.E. Literacy” and a FREE Resource with activities:  http://drkchilds.com/2020/03/free29daystll/


By Dr. Kamshia Childs | Categories All | Challenges | Choices | Critical Thinking | Curriculum | Diversity | Early Education | Educators | Engagement - Classroom | Equity | Inclusion | K-5 Literacy | Reading | Reading Instruction | Results | October 1, 2021

Most students either really love to read and find joy in growing and sharpening their literacy skills, or they feel the opposite. Their experience depends on two things- the instructional decisions made and the environment in which they learn.  Educators are often told to create a “literacy rich” or “print rich” classroom setting, but what does that really mean? R.I.C.H. should address four different aspects: Relevancy, Inclusiveness, Creativity, and Hands-On approaches.

Relevancy

Students, younger and older are often disconnected from the literacy skills and expectations that are required in standards-based instruction and assessment. This is because they don’t see the “bigger picture” of learning the skills and strategies that are often taught in isolation. The foundational stages of literacy involve building word sense, concepts of print, and lots of repetition and practice—but educators shouldn’t stop there. The students who often struggle lack the connectedness and relevancy of the materials shared. To gain sense of relevancy and what resonates with students, conversations, bookstack cultivation, and surveys should take place.

Inclusiveness

Relevancy and inclusiveness go hand in hand.  Whether planning the instruction or the “look” of a space, students need to see themselves in the materials presented. Not only do students need to see themselves, but they need to see others who are not like them as well.

When thinking about inclusivity and literacy, one might think of diversity, and the representation of various racial and ethnic backgrounds and perspectives. This is crucial, but just a starting point. Representation can be present in literacy settings, and students still not understand the importance or value of a concept or idea. Therefore, it is important to know that in addition to representation, students need to be exposed to an environment that allows them to feel safe (with learning new skills and contributing), and take risks (with new strategies, with new resources), and be inclusive of families (inside and outside of the classroom).

Creativity

Literacy learning is often repetitive and can be boring for some. The more creativity that is sparked within lessons—the better. Creative ideas for literacy learning involve using traditional skills and practical, everyday materials and happenings to get students to understand.

Example: Connecting technological and popular culture terms with academic literacy terms

Hands-On Approaches

We want students to read, but don’t give them enough opportunity to write (or see the correlation between the two).  We ask students about other writers and authors’ ideas, but don’t challenge them to see themselves as authors.  Writing centers, blogging opportunities, and spaces where students can critique and explore all facets of literacy (listening, speaking, reading, writing) is a climate that would provide hands-on learning in a “R.I.C.H.” classroom.

 

The literacy environment has evolved, just as education has changed.  Teachers often create themes at the beginning of a school year, and it is to get students excited about being in their class. The literacy environment needs a R.I.C.H. environment that is tailored to the needs of the students who are being served, and the learning community as a whole.

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By Anthony J. Butler | Categories All | Challenges | Choices | Critical Thinking | Curriculum | Diversity | Early Education | Educators | Engagement - Classroom | Events | Games | K-5 Literacy | Listening | Reading | Reading Instruction | Results | Social Emotional Learning | Writing | June 25, 2021

The young students frantically waved their hands high in the air. They couldn’t wait to run to the front of the gym and participate in a game I call, “5 in Ten!”. I recently spoke with hundreds of students in different settings (urban, rural, and suburban) and they all enjoyed “5 in 10’!”. The gist of this interactive game is to name 5______ in ten seconds.

The catch is that the students do not know what I will ask them until I say, “go!”. For example, I will call someone up to the front of the class, gym, auditorium, etc. and immediately say, “Name 5 dances in ten seconds…go!”. I typically will have the audience be my shot clock and provide a whisper countdown…10…9…8….7…6…..5…4….3…2..1…Short Buzzer sound! The choices one can use are endless. I can ask participants to name 5 dogs, 5 birds, 5 pizza toppings, 5 songs, 5 movies, 5 shoes, 5 cars, 5 words that start with the letter “A”, etc.

I use “5 in 10” as an ice breaker for students, staff, parents, and families of all ages when I present. Similarly to “5 in 10”, I also use “3 in 5” and “1 in 3.” These are variations of the same “5 in 10” game with the exception that you have to name 3____ in 5 seconds and 1_____ in 3 seconds. Even in virtual environments, students. staff, and parents are excited to play these games!

It was a breath of fresh air to many who were struggling with the remote learning options that were very rigid at times. These fun games get students to speak in front of others. I use it to enhance listening. I use it to help with the correlation between listening, speaking, writing, and reading as well. Before I tackle reading, I typically get students to listen. Historically, stories were told orally (speaking) and the hearer had to “listen well” to pass the story on. Many of these stories were written and these words were read from papers and books. The correlation between listening, speaking, writing, and reading must be leveraged more.

 

Below are a few ways you can leverage the fun to get some reading gains!

 

So here is my call to action for you! At the very least, please try “5 in 10”, “3 in 5”, and “1 in 3” with your students, colleagues, and families. Let me know how they enjoyed it! Remember to leverage the fun as you learn!

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By Dr. Karla Manning | Categories All | Choices | Critical Thinking | Curriculum | Diversity | Early Education | Educators | Engagement - Classroom | Engagement - Community | Engagement - Family | Equity | Inclusion | K-5 Literacy | Opportunity Gap | Parents | Reading | Social Emotional Learning | May 21, 2021

Early Childhood Education is a vital foundation for children of tender age. Not only are they introduced to various experiences, but they are also taught how to form and maintain positive social relationships, a sense of belonging, and developing specific skills to reach their full potential.

We see regular acts of racism, sexism, and prejudice being displayed among people of all ages in society. The need for greater diversity, inclusion, and equity is becoming more evident, from videos we see on social media to news headlines.

Raising a tolerant, accepting, fair and empathetic child should start from an early age. Incorporating equity and inclusion into the early childhood curriculum is one of the best ways to do this.

Equity is simply displaying the quality of being fair and impartial. On the other hand, inclusion is incorporating people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups.

Educators incorporating equity and inclusion in the classroom will help them to combat prejudice and racial discord by supporting positive behaviors among students, fostering a sense of belonging for all students and their families, and teaching respect for everyone.

How Do Children Benefit from Incorporating Inclusion and Equity in Early Childhood Curriculum?

The benefits of inclusion and equity are numerous for all children. Schools including these vital lessons into their curriculum can help children to reach their developmental potential. We have compiled a list of some of the many benefits of successfully incorporating inclusion and equity.

 

How Can your School Incorporate Inclusion and Equity in Early Childhood Curriculums?

It is no secret that children are more comfortable, grounded, and able to learn more when their school, classmates, and instructors respect their diversity.

Strategies that schools can use to successfully incorporate and promote inclusion and equity in early childhood curriculums include:

Use a multi-tiered system of support

Using this strategy involves Collaborating with early childhood special educators and other allied education and health professionals when needed. Facilitate each professional establishing a relationship with each child to maximize potential.

Provide high-quality early childhood learning resources that demonstrate a commitment to equitable outcomes for all children.

Schools can arrange budgets within their means to equitably meet the needs of children and staff. Recognize that high-quality programs will positively reflect the values, beliefs, and practices of specific children, families, and communities.

Develop opportunities for multiple voices with different perspectives to participate in decision-making.

Recognize that unspoken biases have often resulted in limited opportunities for members of marginalized groups.

Prepare current and prospective early childhood educators to provide equitable learning opportunities to all children.

Schools can ensure that educators understand the historical and systemic issues that have created structural inequities in society, including in early childhood education.

Involve children, families, and the community in the design and implementation of learning activities.

Involving children, families, and the community in learning activities will help children to embrace the idea of inclusion and equity. This will also help to build a sense of belonging with those involved.

Introducing and incorporating equity and inclusion into early childhood curriculums will benefit children and the instructors, family, and the wider community. This strategy will also help build a better future where people will practice more accepting and respectful lifestyles.

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By Dr. Julie Padilla | Categories All | Challenges | Choices | Critical Thinking | Curriculum | Diversity | Early Education | Educators | Engagement - Classroom | Equity | Inclusion | Listening | Results | Social Emotional Learning | Writing | May 7, 2021

Every single day we are tasked with ensuring that our students are entering into our building safely, that they are to learn wholeheartedly, and that they get to experience a wide variety of knowledge along the way. In doing this, as educators one of the pivotal roles we play is to promote classroom conversations. These discussions, these special moments of discourse, are necessary to allow students the time to pull apart their own ideas, formulate their own opinions, and better understand others. We have seen the world swiftly change in the past year, more than we ever thought it would. We want to be sure to do our part to provide a forum of opportunity for our students to speak about real-world events. In doing this effectively, there are three main approaches that should be taken into account across grade and content levels:

Establishing norms

Classroom rules and norms are a regularly occurrence, but we want to be sure we revisit them before conversations. Our students need safe community spaces to process information, so having set expectations for when students can speak, how they can address each other respectfully and mindfully, and how it can foster a positive classroom culture are all critical.

Role as a Facilitator

The classroom teacher needs to take ownership of the facilitator role. No matter what age your students are, it is easy to want to jump in and help a student clarify their own thought. But as a facilitator, as furthering this classroom conversation, it involves taking a big step back and not influencing or exerting an opinion or stance. Allow your young people to take the mic, to process their thoughts, and use their own words to inform you. This should be a big moment as they work through their own pieces of information, their own views, and find their footing.

Debrief

As you wrap up these conversations, we want to be sure to tie back to those classroom norms and expectations. We are all growing, we are all learning, we are all evolving, from students to adults. Reassure them that while differences exist, it is the power of understanding one another and having respectful conversations that allows us to make change.

These necessary conversations establish and support the classroom community. They allow for relationships to thrive, for inspiration to occur, and for student engagement to be accelerated. It shows students that we know they are aware of what is going on in the world today, and we want to be there for them in any capacity that we can. It shows students we care.

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By Lois Letchford | Categories All | Challenges | Choices | Critical Thinking | Curriculum | Diversity | Early Education | Educators | Equity | Inclusion | K-5 Literacy | Learning Loss | Listening | Opportunity Gap | Parents | Reading | Reading Instruction | Social Emotional Learning | Writing | April 30, 2021

In 1994, my 6-year-old son Nicholas failed first grade. Testing revealed he could read ten words, showed no strengths, and had a low IQ. The prognosis was dire, his future bleak. Finally, the diagnostician called him: “The worst child I’ve seen in twenty years of teaching.”

I had the option to remove my son from school for six short months.  Teaching him myself, I began by using a recommended standardized set of books, titled Success for All. Their focus was on decoding of isolated words. They too, were an abject failure. Nicholas appeared to have no memory for letters, sounds, or words.

It was at this point, I was given some unforgettable advice from my mother-in-law: “Lois,” she said, “make learning fun.” Now I have no books and a son to teach. I felt totally responsible for his learning. Having a blank slate forced me to examine my son’s learning. What can he do? Does he have strengths? I recalled some previous successful learning activities. He can see patterns and he can rhyme words.

Poetry. Write a poem. But I don’t write. I, too, am dyslexic. Despite this being an enormous challenge for me, I felt pushed – no, driven to try something—anything.

Putting rhyming words together into a simple poem was easier than I imagined. The act of writing a poem transformed our little classroom, as I read the poem to him. Nicholas laughed. We found more rhyming words, illustrated the poem, and finally, he recited the poems from memory to his family.

Every day, I had a new poem waiting for Nicholas. He blossomed. Instead of panicking about learning, he recalled the words in the poems. Poetry provided a cocoon for letters and sounds. Illustrating the poems engaged us in multi-sensory activities and in reciting and performing words as we searched for deeper meanings.

But it was the poem to learn the oo sounds as in book, look, and cook which metamorphosed our learning. Instead of talking about cooking, I wrote about Captain James Cook, one of the last great explorers. Through poetry, we explored the changing map of the world to which Cook contributed greatly.

Nicholas asked:

“Who came before Captain Cook?”

“Who came before Christopher Columbus?”

His questions stumped me. I could not answer many of them and I thought these were not the questions that come from a child with a “low IQ.” Using my son’s learning, I became a literacy specialist, teaching children who failed to learn to read in normal settings. I developed the knowledge and skills to turn around children’s lives.

What can parents do?

  1. Turn fictional texts (books or short stories) into plays or dramas. Why? The child is connecting the text with actions. Book language varies from oral language. By re-writing the story, the child is now the “author” and can change the words in the text to use their words.
  2. Read and recite poems. Poetry is the foundation for phonemic awareness. (Phonemic awareness is the ability to play with letters and sounds.) Building on rhyming poetry, the parent enables the student to hear the rhyming words and sounds.
  3. Sing and enjoy songs, rhymes, & limericks. Use the beat and the words to engage the child with words and actions.
  4. Show language as “dynamic.”  Find, read, and tell jokes and riddles. Jokes and riddles often depend upon wordplay. Many students with learning disabilities see the world “concretely.” They struggle with the abstract nature of language. Enjoy the language and wordplay and teach children how to “look” for additional meanings.
  5. Use audiobooks! Audiobooks or reading to a child is the most powerful way to engage the child in literature.
  6. Above all, enjoy learning. Make it a game. Find time to enjoy learning together. When children “fall in love” with books and learning, it becomes an activity they want to do. That’s when learning happens.

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By Ann (Ana) Morris | Categories All | Book Deserts | Curriculum | Diversity | Early Education | Equity | Inclusion | K-5 Literacy | Opportunity Gap | Parents | Reading | Reading Instruction | Summer Reading | Writing | April 23, 2021

All children like to read things they can relate to or that make them feel good. And the best children’s stories I “read” were those on the laps of my parents.

In order to write books for children of a different mold than our own, we need to know them. I grew up in a homogeneous environment. When my junior high social studies teacher inadvertently opened my eyes to the fact that youth around the world had many things in common, my interest was sparked.
My first goal achieved was learning the importance of communication. Not only in English, but in Spanish. I lived and studied in Spain, where I achieved fluency. It has served me well!
I taught Spanish and used Spanish language children’s books as motivators for my students.

I worked for the employment/unemployment office in Iowa’s capital. We had many Latino clients. I did much translating and interpreting to help communicate a concept difficult for many people in their native language.

Aside from this, I had many stories in my memory that I wanted to share with children and those reading to them. That is where my dream launched.

I wrote my first picture book, Mommy and Mikel Go for a Walk. It was a memory from the mid-1980s with my son Mikel. After writing it in English, I decided to tell it in Spanish, too. Working with many Latinos in the USA has taught me that Spanish in Spain is not the same as Spanish in the rest of the world. I was glad to know alternative words to use that would be more neutral help me communicate better.

I learned that not only native language readers liked each language, but learners of the other language.

My second book, Surprise in Auntie’s Garden! made me pause. I am blonde, as is most of my family. Many young people would not relate to blonde people in every book. I decided to use different race and ethnic characters in each book to include other young readers and parents. This time I used Latinas as the characters. My messages are universal, so this merely allowed different readers to see themselves in my books.

My first three books were published in pairs. One in English and the other in Spanish. I had requests to try publishing the stories as bilingual stories to include both languages in one book. I did this with Do It Again! and Lexi’s Special Tooth Fairy Pillow. The reception was wonderful.

During this time of writing, I also began working with Royal Promise, a mission that works with underprivileged children in Anun-Asikuma, Ghana, West Africa. This opened the door even wider. My new friends and the students loved my stories because they knew me and were eager for new literature. I feel very connected to them and feel the need to assist with their literacy opportunities.

It is important to include many aspects of childhood in the characters as well as the stories. Literacy is important to all people and gives them the confidence and initiative to seek and achieve new and unforeseen goals in life. Invest in our future and include everyone, at home and abroad.

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By Valarie Pearce, MEd | Categories All | Critical Thinking | Curriculum | Diversity | Early Education | Educators | Engagement - Classroom | Engagement - Community | Engagement - Family | Equity | Inclusion | K-5 Literacy | Listening | Opportunity Gap | Parents | Reading | Results | Social Emotional Learning | Writing | April 16, 2021

How reading helps children learn social emotional skills

I am a lover of all things book and the written word. As a child, I was precocious and very curious. Thankfully, my father had a great passion for reading and ensured that I, along with my siblings, understood the importance of literacy and that it was something never to be taken for granted. “Many of our ancestors gave their lives for the right to read,” my father would often preach. I wanted to know what he was talking about. Why and how could this happen? In addition, my brain was alive with princesses, dragons, and secret gardens I got to meet often through what remains one of my greatest and most enduring loves, books.

Much of my advanced vocabulary, ability to articulate my thoughts and feelings, empathy for others, and sharp view of the world around me was a direct result of the abundance of books afforded me. I was a proud card-carrying member of the library! I loved checking out Puff the Magic Dragon with its accompanying record tucked in the back (yes, I am proudly dating myself), The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.

These books and many others whisked this little Black girl from small city Portland, Oregon to unknown lands of epic trials and triumphs. The ability to read, write, comprehend, and decode the written word was just the beginning. The pure enjoyment of reading was the vehicle that aided me and will ultimately do so for our students today; expanding their minds to the immeasurable possibilities for connection with each other and the world around them.

As the Director of Content Development for Friendzy, a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program for K-8 students, I continue my literacy evangelizing. After all, I am the daughter of a preacher! Research has shown that reading supports SEL. At Friendzy we frame our SEL literacy supports through five distinct frameworks:

  1. Learning social-emotional skills.

    Reading helps children gain a greater understanding of emotions, which can help them understand their own emotions and those of others.

  2. Develop empathy.

    Reading a story creates space for kids to imagine themselves inside the story. This allows them to develop empathy as they experience the lives of other characters and can identify with how they are feeling.

  3. Practice perspective-taking.

    Reading allows children to learn about a wide array of people, places, and events that they may not otherwise experience.

  4. Improve cognitive development.

    Reading provides children with a deeper understanding of the world and fills their brains with a wide range of knowledge. They then use this acquired knowledge to make sense of what they see, hear and read.

  5. Builds relationships and connections.

    Reading brings a classroom of students together for a shared adventure. It  also provides parents with an opportunity to have dedicated time with their children. Reading together provides kids with feelings of connection, attention and is nourishing to the soul.

These key components shift the literacy lens from simply learning to read to reading to learn with great enthusiasm. As an author and educator, I tell my students and the students I meet at school visits when you open up a book, you open up the world. I was given this gift early on and my job is to pay it forward!


For more information about Kids Read Now, contact us.

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By KRN Admin | Categories All | Choices | Diversity | Early Education | Educators | Equity | Inclusion | K-5 Literacy | Opportunity Gap | Results | Social Emotional Learning | June 22, 2020

It’s in our nature to surround ourselves with those to whom we can relate the most; that’s no different for children. Here’s a list we’ve pulled together of some of our favorite books on inclusion, which you can include in your reading rotation.

Books are important visual tools for children and are some of the first items they interact with as they develop mentally, physically, and emotionally. Books are an exciting way to watch children connect the dots between what they read and experience.

Children should have access to books that they can relate to and see themselves as the main character in the book. Not only is this empowering for children, but it can help foster the feeling of inclusion.

The Importance of Inclusion in Children’s Books

By definition, inclusion is the simply the act of being included; however, sometimes parents may have some trouble finding fun and exciting children’s books that not only include their own children, but include children of different races, backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and family structures. Promoting empathy and respect for all types of diversity is essential to healthy relationships through childhood and adulthood.

It’s human nature to surround ourselves with those we can relate to most, and it’s no different for children. The more books in your home library with diverse characters and situations, the more your child will learn to embrace diversity and inclusivity.

If you are looking for books that include your children and the world around them, we’ve pulled together a list of our favorite inclusive books from our 2020 Wishlist that you can put in your reading rotation.

14 Books for Children About Inclusion

Who Was Jackie Robinson?

By: Gail Herman

Illustrated by John O’Brien

As a kid, he loved sports. In 1947 Jackie joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the long time color barrier. Some of the fans didn’t like it. Some of his teammates didn’t like it. His story is as inspiring as he was. 112pgs

Who Was Jackie Robinson?

Beautiful / Bellas

By: Stacy McAnulty

Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

Every girl is special. Every girl is talented. Every girl is beautiful! 32pgs

Beautiful / Bellas

The Dot

By: Peter H. Reynolds

Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Can you draw? Vashti thinks she can’t. But oh, what a surprise! 32pgs

The Dot

Don’t Throw it to Mo!

By: David A. Adler

Illustrated by Sam Ricks

Mo loves to play football! But, he’s not very good at it. He’s small, and has trouble catching the ball. Can he help his team win? 32pgs

Don't Throw it to Mo!

Brave / Valiente

By: Stacy McAnulty

Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

Being brave isn’t just for superheroes. We can all be brave! 32pgs

Brave / Valiente

I Love Our Earth / Amo nuestra Tierra

By: Bill Martin Jr., Michael Sampson

Illustrated by Dan Lipow

Our Earth is one of a kind. Let’s celebrate her colors, climates, and seasons! 32pgs

I Love Our Earth / Amo nuestra Tierra

I Want to Be a Doctor

By: Laura Driscoll

Illustrated by Catalina Echeverri

When Jack hurts his foot, his family takes him to the hospital. There he meets all sorts of doctors: bone doctors, eye doctors, baby doctors. How many different kinds of doctors are there? 32pgs

I Want to Be a Doctor

Something Beautiful

By: Sharon Dennis Wyeth

Illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet

A little girl lives in a scary neighborhood. Instead of seeing the scary things, she decides to look for the beautiful things. What are the beautiful things in your world?

32pgs

Something Beautiful

Dancing in the Wings

By: Debbie Allen

Illustrated by Kador Nelson

In dance, sometimes it’s important to blend in with everyone else. Sometimes it’s important to stand out. Has Sassy made the right choices? 32pgs

Dancing in the Wings

Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, Forbidden Palace, and other Tourist Attractions

By: Lenore Look

Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Alvin is afraid of everything. But in this book, he’s taking his fears to a whole new level. Or should we say, continent? 176pgs

Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, Forbidden Palace, and other Tourist Attractions

MTH #18: Buffalo Before Breakfast

By: Mary Pope Osborne

Illustrated by Sal Murdocca

Annie and Jack travel to the American plains, and visit a tribe named Lakota. When they meet up with a herd of bison, will they be safe? 96pgs

MTH #18: Buffalo Before Breakfast

Bud, Not Buddy

By: Christopher Paul Curtis

In 1936 Flint, Michigan, life is hard for motherless Bud Caldwell. His mother never told him who his father was, but she left a few clues. Once Bud begins his search for his father, nothing can stop him. 288pgs

Bud, Not Buddy

Who Was Harriet Tubman?

By: Yona Zeldis McDonough

Illustrated by Nancy Harrison

Harriet was born a slave, but grew into a brave and daring young woman. She was brave enough to escape from slavery and daring enough to help others escape, too. 112pgs

Who Was Harriet Tubman?

Who Was Sacagawea?

By: Judith Bloom Fradin, Dennis Brindell Fradin

Illustrated by Val Paul Taylor

Sacagawea is best known for helping the Lewis and Clark expedition map the Louisiana Territory and find a passage to the Pacific Ocean. But she was so much more! Read all about her amazing trip!

112pgs

Who Was Sacagawea?

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By Leib Lurie | Categories All | Challenges | Diversity | Early Education | Engagement - Community | Equity | Inclusion | Learning Loss | News | Opportunity Gap | Social Emotional Learning | June 12, 2020

Dear Educators, Parents and Partners,

Racial injustice has plagued our country for centuries, and despite progress in many sectors, people of color are still overwhelmingly likely to be subject to tragic police brutality and fatal incidents. The sad incidents of the past few weeks, exacerbated by those who fan the fires of hatred and racial inequities will leave another layer of scars on all our children.

Black and Brown people in our nation are far more likely to be infected and die from the novel Corona Pandemic. The massive layoffs drag down a high percentage of Black and Brown families already struggling behind white neighbors.

The extended school shutdowns will leave children of color even further behind their peers, and more likely to be home without adequate supervision; much less access to high speed internet and full screen devices essential to leaning during this unprecedented crisis. These same children live in the scrublands of book deserts during the best of times. With summer schools and community programs cancelled or curtailed; the inequities grow starker every day.

The indisputable fact is that bias and systemic oppression of marginalized communities are deeply intertwined with many aspects of our culture and society. This is just one more form of intolerable racism that we all must work to recognize and overcome

We at Kids Read Now believe it is critical for the future of our country that we collectively and proactively engage in the difficult conversations to define equity and take action to create a more equitable system.

When I was younger, belligerent neighbors vandalized our home and a week later I was screaming in terror in the Audubon ballroom when Malcolm X was assassinated. A few years later, I was tear gassed in Washington at a peaceful demonstration that turned ugly with aggressive police presence. Sadly, this year feels like the 1960’s all over again.

We can, we will, we MUST do better.

Speaking up for the oppressed, working for justice, helping the disadvantaged is what we all need to do. Today more than ever.

Mailing 350,000 books to families over this extended summer is one way we strive for equitable home-learning, and assuring we deliver books to boost literacy, delivered to homes, overcoming the Covid quarantine measures.

We appreciate that our community of partners, educators and parents are committed to making a real difference.

My hope is that, together, we can help, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “bend the arc of history toward justice.”

Looking forward,

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