Moms, Dads… Are You Choosing Windows or Mirrors Books?
Do you go to the bookstore or library and get windows or mirrors books for your kids, tweens or teens? Windows and mirrors books refer to how children and teens both see themselves and see others when reading. Research suggests that mirror books are good because, When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part. When I was growing up there was not an abundance of Sharon Drapers and Nikki Grimes in the book store. There were not many books to choose from where I could read about the experiences of those which mirrored the kids in my neighborhood that played kickball in the street and walked three blocks to Mrs. Cook. A lady who sold pickles, ‘push-ups’ (aka frozen Kool-Aid in Dixie cups) and an array of candy out of her closed-in carport. There has been no shortage of books, fiction or non-fiction, about slavery. But after a while a kid wants to read something else, you know? Just last week in the library as I went through the stacks with my two youngest I was hard pressed to find books for my son that did not involve being a slave (or freeman), resisting gang life, growing up in the ghetto or playing sports. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After all in 2013 the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), which documents the numbers of books published in the United States for children each year which were written and/or illustrated by African Americans, found that of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about Blacks, 34 about American Indians, 69 about Asian Americans and 57 about Latinos. There has been debate about Common Core having much more of a window then mirror view in its book suggestions. So like many things when it comes to parenting, until more books featuring authors and children of color are available at school we will have to dig deep in the bookstore and libraries so the kiddos can read mirrors books at home.
Happy Reading and Learning!
Looking to enhance knowledge in: Speaking and Listening/Participation in class discussion Educational Activity Focus: Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence. First, have your high school scholar choose an event in the news of interest to them (i.e. Mike Brown case, Ray Rice, Apple leaks in iCloud) Research the topic of choice. Next, have your high school scholars find videos on their topic of choice Three major news networks, i.e. MSNBC, CNN, FOX Have them evaluate the speakers’ argument. Make sure they take notes. Now talk with them about what they found Based on the research and the speakers arguments in the news clips have them tell you at dinner or on the way to practice which one of the speakers in the video clips they felt were sticking to the facts or distorting the truth. Remember to ask why!
Looking to enhance knowledge in: Speaking and Listening/Participation in class discussion Educational Activity Focus: Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
First, have your middle school scholar think about something they’d love to debate/argue. Does your middle schooler want a phone or perhaps a phone upgrade? Are they desperately making arguments as to why they should be able to stay home alone or deserve a ATV for Christmas? Research facts about their topic. Find at least 9 arguments for and 9 arguments against (make sure they are looking a reputable sources) Have them write down their argument. Remind them to start with a topic sentence: which explains what they plan to discuss and why it’s important. Example of how to start: There are many opinions on _________________. Opponents believe ___________ , but proponents argue ___________________________________________________ . In my opinion, _________________________________________. I think this because _____________________, ___________________, and ______________ Choose arguments that support their claim – making sure to give reasons and evidence Call the family over, grandma, aunts uncles and friends who are just as close as family. Serve up nice snacks and have your middle schooler present what they learned.
Looking to enhance knowledge in: Speaking and Listening/Participation in class discussion Educational Activity Focus: Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details. Tell your elementary whiz kid that it’s time to get creative. Do they like comedy, action packed movies or maybe horror? Create a script on their genre of choice. In the script make sure they: Include a plot, setting, moral or problem to be solved Use descriptive words, the movie flows/makes sense Read script at an appropriate pace, use expression Have auditions. Grab some paint, markers and poster boards so the kiddos can make the set. Hold rehearsals in the den/great room/living room…somewhere in the house. Handover your smartphone and let the kiddos record their video. Action! Pop some popcorn and sit the entire family down to watch!
Looking to enhance knowledge in: Speaking and Listening/Participation in class discussion Educational Activity Focus: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion). Choose a mirror book of interest At the next family function have your little scholar discuss the key details in the book: characters, plot, setting and what the story reminded them of.
Here's to Closing the Achievement Gap!