By Jazmin Cruz
In our past blog, Who is [and who is not] in the curriculum?, we highlighted actionable steps we as educators may take to critically examine who is [and is not] represented in our texts and curriculum. We also offered suggestions on how to conduct a book audit and why diverse perspectives are crucial.
In this blog, we extend this work by providing book suggestions that include diverse literature and multicultural, BIPOC in school curricula. The following list was curated by educator and Advisory Board member, Carol Jago.
Choosing Books for Your students
Before going through this book list, here are some key points to keep in mind for choosing books that best fit your students:
1. What grade(s) do you teach?
Middle school students are at an age where they are starting to think critically, but some students may still be developing these skills. For this reason, grade level (and the sophistication of content) should be considered when selecting texts.
This book list has some high school titles marked with a + sign to indicate these text may be engaging for some middle school readers who you believe can handle the specific content and themes. Middle school titles are also marked with a * sign to indicate these titles may be enjoyable for 9th and 10th grade readers.
2. What is the average reading level? Listening level?
Students' reading level is one way to help guide your choices for students' texts. However, you may notice that students are able to handle texts far beyond their grade level reading ability when they are highlight motivated by the text. Note: Texts should challenge students to learn new vocabulary, but they should not be so challenging that it prevents their understanding of the text as a whole. You also want to keep in mind students' listening level, which may be higher than their reading level, if you are using an audio book or doing read-aloud.
3. What topics, experiences, or interests do your students relate to?
Much like adolescents are eager to speak out on issues that impact their communities, they are likely to be engaged in reading topics that relate to themselves, their interests, and their lived experiences. Having choice in what they read is crucial to support engaged, autonomous reading. Here's a book review resource created by young readers for young readers. How can you support students' love of reading today?