National Reading Month!

Create & Celebrate a Nation of Diverse Readers

This year, the National Education Association is promoting the theme Create and Celebrate a Nation of Diverse Readers. Let’s think about what this means and why it is important.

What’s the Point?

Reading a book transports us to another world and can show and teach us so many things we would never otherwise encounter. Sure, we know about Neverland and Oz and Middle Earth, but that’s not what we mean in this case.

Start reading the recently published Freewater and you’re thrust into the lives of runaway African American slaves creating a new home in a vast swamp.

If you read A Single Shard, you’re suddenly immersed in 12th-century Korea among pottery masters and apprentices.

But history and countries are not always the point, either, and that’s what the National Education Association wants to remind us.

If you read Fish in a Tree, you’re in our modern world with Ally, who is dyslexic, seeing letters and numbers differently than almost everyone around her.

Reading Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is often hilarious and joyous despite the main character having been born with no arms.

The story of Anybody Here Seen Frenchie? is about the search for a lost autistic boy in the Maine countryside, with some chapters told from Frenchie’s unique point of view.

Authors are exploring stories featuring or including characters who are physically disabled or neurodivergent. These are fresh and adventurous stories that reveal new worlds most students will find quite different from their own experiences. And that’s the point.

Why Is This Important?

Children are going to encounter people who are not like them and their family. If a child has shared some aspect of the different person’s life experience through reading a story featuring a similar character, then the child will not be rude, afraid, or uncaring to different types of people in real life.

Teaching students that the world around them should never change and not include anyone different from them is not protecting them—it’s setting them up for huge scares and ugly clashes in life. Not to mention it’s unrealistic, short-sighted, and will probably result in developing bigotry and arrogance more than a sense of safety.

At SpiderSmart, we are creating, strengthening, and opening minds of students so they can meet the world both as it is and strive to make it better.