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Biased Elementary Reading Programs - Essay Example

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Learning to read is more than just learning the alphabet and vocabulary; it is also developing a cultural relationship with the material. The paper "Biased Elementary Reading Programs" discusses the recent article by Jane M. Ganji titled "The Unbearable Whiteness of Literacy Instruction"…
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Biased Elementary Reading Programs
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Download file to see previous pages Ganji argues for more inclusive diversity in the texts, illustrations, writers, and the role of mentors in the array of children's books that are recommended for elementary libraries and classrooms.
Ganji illustrates the importance of viewing one's own culture in a book by telling the story of Bebot, a Philippine student that had read a copy of a book that reflected his own cultural heritage. Ganji noted that this was a "mirror book", a book that reflected his own self through the location of the setting, the characters, and the illustrations (30). While the author stated that mirror books were essential for young readers to be able to relate to the story, she stated that "Unfortunately, classroom collections too often provide more mirror books for White children than for children of color". The availability of mirror books commonly available simply does not reflect the diverse classrooms that exist today.
The author pointed out two deficiencies in the system that are at the core of the problem; leveled reading lists and awards. Fountas and Pinnell rate and append lists of elementary readers by reading level. It is one of the most widely used lists used to create libraries for use by young readers. Yet, Ganji has found that "authors of color are represented about 1 percent", an insignificant number when compared to the population's color diversity. In addition to leveled reading lists, teachers and educators often take recommendations from books that have won awards. Here again, the author points to the deficiency of multicultural material available. Though there are multicultural awards given to books, most educators gravitate towards the more prestigious Caldecott and Newbery awards. The author noted that libraries ordered the winner of the Caldecott award twice as often as the winner of the Coretta Scott King award. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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