Dear Families and Caregivers,
Did you know that today is National Read a Book Day, a celebration observed annually on February 6? We invite you to join us this day (and every day) to recognize this important recreational activity. Did you know that reading books to children is one of the most important factors leading to success in reading? In addition, reading to children in the early years correlates with language growth, strengthened comprehension, emergent literacy, and other cognitive growth.
One of the hallmarks of Beauvoir has always been our vast and thoughtfully curated literary collections in our library and learning environments. Beauvoir teachers and administrators work closely with our librarians to ensure that there is a rich representation of quality literature across all genres, appropriate reading levels, and interests. As part of our ongoing commitment to engage students with literature that reflects positive societal attitudes and values, we regularly analyze our collections for both visual and verbal messages our students may absorb about themselves and others. As educators, we know that books, depending on the quality, can either strengthen or erode a child’s self-concept, teach accurate or misleading information about identity, and/or promote positive or negative attitudes about diversity and difference. Children walk away from books learning “who is important, who matters, and who is visible.” Our work with bias this year has taught us that this can have a powerful and lifelong impact.
Through Beauvoir’s research and review processes, we have learned that the biased messages our young readers digest can ultimately lead to undeniable harm. I want to reassure you that we have a team of committed educators who continually evaluate our collections with a critical eye toward content, information, and values, including bias, age appropriateness, stereotypes, tokenism, invisibility, loaded words, and lack of diversity and representation. Occasionally, this may lead to moving books out of circulation or replacing them with more updated copies, including some familiar children’s classics. I invite you to read “Eight changes that were made to a classic Richard Scarry book to keep up with the times.” In addition, the following article from the Office of Head Start’s National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness may be useful as you build your own libraries and help your child develop critical literacy. Please know we are always available to serve as a resource, too.
As award-winning author Lloyd Alexander promoted, “Keep reading. It’s one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have.” Happy National Read a Book Day!
Cindi Gibbs-Wilborn, Head of School