March is Reading Month: Let's Celebrate!
Happy March! Though this month marks a full year of this pandemic-era life, it also brings something worth celebrating: National Reading Month.
The March is Reading Month movement is meant to promote literacy and a love for reading. In an era where students are growing up in front of screens, it’s important that students feel as connected to books as they do to digital media. Students need access to impactful and immersive stories that ensure their love for reading is not lost over time. Lifelong reading fosters critical thinking and analytical skills that students need to navigate the world – both inside and outside the classroom.
There’s a multitude of factors that play into students’ disinterest in reading or low literacy skills, but a simple way to improve students’ interest is by connecting them to a good book. When students find a book that they connect to, their love for reading and their literacy and reading comprehension skills grow. They also gain perspective.
Reading about characters who speak different languages, grow up somewhere else, or who have distinct experiences reminds students what makes us unique and what unites us. When students see themselves in books, their confidence and self-love grows, as well.
DCAN is celebrating March by sharing reading lists for elementary, middle, and high school students. Representation, diversity, and inclusion in media are so important, and for that reason, our lists highlight stories by authors of color. You’ll find picture books, graphic novels, and multiple genres in our book lists.
Find them all here:
We hope that you can share the lists with students – and even read some yourself! (Children of Blood and Bone and Brown Girl Dreaming are some of my top recommendations).
The unfortunate truth is that there are many systemic issues at work that contribute to inequities in literacy that cannot be solved simply by sharing a book. Fortunately, though, Detroit has organizations and coalitions that offer support and resources to combat these inequities. One of those initiatives is 313Reads. They offer unsettling data statistics about literacy in Detroit and Michigan:
Only 9% of Detroit third grade students got a score of “Proficient” in the 2018-19 academic year.
83% of low-income first graders in Michigan are not able to read proficiently.
Low-income students are 65% more likely to fall behind their reading level by fifth grade.
Connecting students to impactful, engaging stories is one way to combat these stats, but partnering with literacy campaigns and organizations is even more effective. We can help students unlock their endless potential by connecting them to the proper tools. Read more about the important work of 313Reads and how they support our community:
313Reads is a collective impact coalition dedicated to increasing access to literacy support for young children in Detroit with the goal of every child reading at grade level by grade three. We do this by working with city-wide partners while focusing on literacy access, equity, and justice. We are the Detroit chapter of the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading and have partnerships ranging from local to national. We do not work with families directly; instead we are the organizing body that coordinates collective impact efforts among organizations based on democratic decision making.
We operate with the basic understanding that Detroit children, families, community members, and community organizations are brilliant and can do anything when we have access to high quality opportunities, resources, and support. The unacceptable literacy inequities that impact our children are the product of systems that reproduce inequitable distributions of those opportunities, resources, and supports. Our collective impact network is committed to addressing systemic inequities through the levers of Early Language and Literacy, Summer and Out-of-School Time Learning, and Early Childhood Enrollment and Attendance.
To stay up to date on all things early literacy, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @313Reads and sign up for our newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/f2c151550f04/313reads-partner-newsletter
We wish you a happy and healthy March. Happy reading!