A very cool poster and a number of good links related to Native American Heritage Month from the Department of Defense. Check it out! Native American Indian Heritage Month Jim
The International Reading Association has shared this list of reviews of multicultural titles for children from kindergarten to grade 12. I thought you might find these reviews useful as you're placing book orders this coming year. Katie
This New York Times article, Books to Match Diverse Young Readers highlights a handful of books whose main characters come from a variety of ethnic groups. I was pleased to find a least one copy of all but the last two titles in our district and in some cases copies at half of our schools. Since our students cannot borrow from other schools we might want to examine our collections however and be sure that if we don't have these books readily available to our students we at least have a number of other equally appealing titles representing all these ethnic groups if not more.
A family friend once shared with me that when she questioned why her adopted Korean boys liked to check out books with African American characters so much they told her it was because the characters 'weren't white.' They couldn't find books about Koreans but they at least wanted to read about how other kids of minority cultures fared.
In the same issue of the New York Times is another article For Young Latinos, an Image is Missing, which addresses this very issue from an Hispanic perspective. It speaks of the need to steer clear of stereotypical books on migrant workers or holidays like Cinco de Mayo and look for books that represent the lives these students are living day in and out, today. The article also mentions that textbook publishers are providing a higher percentage of representation than trade book publishers of at least Latino characters. However, it goes on to say that "Latino education advocates and authors say they do not want schools to resort to tokenism." So, where ever possible let's try to provide all of our students with a varied selection of the best quality literature we can, representing a wide cross section of cultures.
OK..... so I got waylaid in getting the post below posted...by 4 months!! It is still a great article and I don't want to wait for Literacy Day this year to publish it. Lori Learned's sharing yesterday of the website International Children's Digital Library reminded me of Literacy Day (don't even try to follow the route my memory takes!) and this entry which has been languishing in draft form. Both sites are worth checking out...the ICDL should be shared with teachers, bi-lingual tutors and parents as its a fantastic resource. Kt
--from September----------------------------------------------------------------------------------This blog post poses the question "Are All Readers Literate?" It speaks to the need for our young learners to be acquiring what they call background knowledge, or domain knowledge, domain-specific content knowledge. What any reader, not matter what their age or skill level, needs in order to fully understand text. This is an area where our profession can help by guiding students to resources which expand their knowledge base; by taking the time to explain idioms and pointing out metaphores and similies; and by making connections for them between a feature in a fictional setting (Charlotte... as in Charlotte's Web) and the Dewey section on spiders. We can help them build background knowledge with games and contests that challenge them to learn new facts and broaden their horizons. We can share a bit of our selves, our interests and backgrounds in order to expand their background information base but also to encourage them to exercise a little self examination and see that they may have a some stories to tell and information to share which will expand our knowledge base as well.
I would encourage you to read not only the short blog post but also to follow some of the links the article alludes to.