Access to various books positively affects children as readers and people. Access to a variety of texts allows children to expand their vocabulary, deepen their understanding of the language, provide problem-solving opportunities, provide critical confirmation experiences in students’ lives, and give students the opportunity to learn about people from different life experiences.
Students of all races, genders, religions, languages, abilities, interests and beliefs should have the opportunity to experience positive literature, where they find reflection in the books they read. These opportunities do not yet exist for many children.
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center publishes research on books depicting characters from different backgrounds. Research has shown that books include very few representations of primary characters for many backgrounds and experiences. According to this data, many students are more likely to encounter a book that has an animal or other inhumane character with a primary character (29.2 percent of the total book) than a book with a primary character that is black / African (11.9 percent of the book), Asian. / Asian American (8.7 percent of total books), Latin (5.3 percent of total books), a person with a disability (3.4 percent of total books), or LGBTQIAP (3.1 percent of total books).
Students need access to texts that reflect different experiences of race, ethnicity, gender, and language. Such access enhances motivation, which can have a positive effect on reading comprehension.
Scholar Rudin Bishop Sims strikingly notes, “When children cannot reflect themselves in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative or ridiculous, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are underestimated in that society.” A part. ”
When children are able to access books that arouse their curiosity through different texts, it also increases reading volume, prepares students to read more complex texts on the same or similar subjects, and introduces new vocabulary – all indicators of improved reading comprehension.
As an English and reading teacher, I have occasionally struggled to provide lessons that support my students’ lives and communities. My last district was conservative-leaning, and I often weighed in on political tensions against the judgment of my own highly knowledgeable, expert, teacher. However, since I’ve built a relationship with my parents and gained their trust, I’ve been able to read a variety of books in my middle school, including Walter Dean Myers’ “Monster” and Gary Soto’s “The Afterlife.”