The early cultivation of a love of reading and reading ability overall, are predictors of academic success. Youth Thrive and our community of partners are actively working on strategies that promote the goal of 95% of 3rd grade students reading on grade level. While having access to books is an important strategy toward achieving this goal, ensuring that those books are culturally relevant and reflective of the diversity in our community is an important consideration.
There are numerus benefits associated with culturally relevant literature and diversity in books including: academic performance; engagement in reading, prosocial development, and college and career readiness.
- Culturally relevant literature can empower students as readers; it encourages engagement in learning, and can build reading comprehension and other language arts skills.
- Improved literacy outcomes resulting from students’ increased motivation to read culturally familiar content can positively impact reading comprehension.
- Diverse literature that is reflective of varied cultural identities and experiences can improve literacy outcomes.
- Culturally diverse literature can help all young people learn to look beyond their own personal experiences and foster cultural competency.
While we know that book diversity is important, there is often a lack of culturally relevant books that are available to our youth. As we gear up to support the Wake Up and Read Annual Book Drive whose goal is to collect 110,000 books for Wake County youth, there is a specific need for books that reflect the diversity in our community, particularly for students in grades 2-5. In addition, there is a need of long chapter books and leveled readers. Graphic novels, sports-themed texts, non-fiction (animals and personal bios), and superheroes are all popular.
Information about how to identify and donate books is included below in the Annual Book Drive information. Several links that connect highlighted authors and suggested book are also highlighted.
Please support the Campaign and our Wake County youth by purchasing or donating books that will help our children become lifelong readers and learners!
For more information about culturally relevant literature, visit the links below:
- We Need Diverse Books (WNBD): https://diversebooks.org/
- Lee & Low Books: https://blog.leeandlow.com/2015/03/25/why-do-we-need-diverse-books-in-non-diverse-schools/#more-10487
- Equal Read: http://equalread.org/