One of my goals and major projects this year has been to examine the different sections of our collection, weed and update them, ensure they are being used, and introducing more diversity into them. I’m going to start sharing the numbers and my ideas on how I’m going to improve the collections.
We publish a list for each grade, Kindergarten through fifth, with suggested titles for summer reading. Parents can download the list off our school website along with a reading log. While summer reading is encouraged it is not mandatory until third grade and not until fifth is there at least one required book for all students (we are in the process of hiring a new fifth grade English teacher so that may not be the case this year).
Last year I completely revamped the lists so they were much shorter than previously. They also have sections for series, single titles, and suggested authors & illustrators. For this last section I am able to look at the ethnicity of the them which I have not done for any of the other collections.
I ran numbers for the summer reading as a whole:
However I added them up as each individual grade so I can look more directly at each list. If you wish to see all the lists click here. Each grade would have required four charts and with five grades that seemed like a lot, so I think it would be easier to just share the numbers.
Thoughts & Concerns
I put together these lists last year and paid very close attention to diversity on them. Or I thought I did. They still don’t look good (although the higher grades are better than the lower, which isn’t saying much). In fact it looks like I paid closest attention to balancing male and female authors and main characters. I think this shows how much I’ve learned over the past year and how much more conscious I have become. To be honest, I’m embarrassed by these lists. I made sure we had a bigger mix of ethnicities, cultures and women, but I can do so much better!
The worst grades are Kindergarten and first with the best being second. That doesn’t surprise me in that I made sure to line the second grade list up with some of their curricular units and their social studies units are probably the most diverse over the course of the year.
Fortunately one of my projects over spring break is to work on these and with these numbers in hand I can do a MUCH better job of that.