Story and photos by Amy Rush
Physical Education Teacher
The Patch Elementary School Education Association received a $1,300 grant from the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” program, and with the funds from the grant, books promoting diversity were purchased for each grade level.
Students identified with their cultural backgrounds and their country’s flags. Daily during Read Across America Week, March 4-8, teachers and community volunteers read several diverse books to the students. They linked the books to their personal experiences about their heritage and culture. This was a powerful way for students to link the characters in the books to a real people, real life experiences and to their own lives.[slideshow_deploy id=’43594′]
On March 7, PES held a read-in, where all of the teachers in the school read the same book at the same time: “My Many Colored Days” by Dr. Seuss. The book helped students to identify with different emotions and work through them. PES also had a diversity night, where community members shared information about different cultures.
The goal of the Patch Elementary School Education Association, as a local organization and school, is to ensure that PES students are able to see themselves in the books in their classrooms and to hear the words of authors who are representative of their cultures, and to spread a love of reading by offering students relatable and relative texts that are diverse.