Spotlighting On Diverse Titles in Your Collection Development

Recently there have been many articles on evaluating our collections and adding to them so diverse voices can be heard. In the last edition of Booklist 2/1/20 (pp. 36-37) they listed all the book awards that ALA gives out to recognize books devoted to some form of diversity. In addition, a more expansive list of these children’s book awards can be found here: ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/childrens-book-awards-other-organizations

So in our school we decided to start focusing on various PLC (Professional Learning Communities) and one of them is to develop a bibliography, as well as individual lesson plans for teachers on a variety of topics. I am on a group of third and fourth grade teachers as weel as a Spanish teacher. All of the information we collect will be available on a Google Drive so it can be continually updated and easily accessible. The topics we chose include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Poverty
  • Disability/Special Needs
  • Small Acts of Kindness/Inclusion
  • Immigrants/Refugees
  • Civil Rights
  • Gender Stereotypes

We decided to focus only on using picture books, since they could be read in one class period. We are using  books that we have in the library, as well as in individual classroom libraries. The titles will be listed under those various topics along with the location, ( Dewey Number) or classroom number, for easy access. They can also be found by searching the actual keywords (topics) in our Destiny catalog. We also developed a form for the lesson plan, so teachers can have an easy access lesson to use at their fingertips. It includes the title, author, a focus skill, opening, read aloud, discussion, vocabulary and extension (enrichment).

The focus skill could be:

  • Inferring
  • Visualizing
  • Questioning/Evaluating
  • Making Connections
  • Determining Importance
  • Synthesizing
  • Symbolism
  • Cause & Effect
  • Plot/Theme
  • Identifying Main Idea & Details
  • Compare & Contrast
  • Classify & Categorize
  • Draw Conclusions
  • Determine Fact & Opinion
  • Describe Figurative Language
  • Identify Genre
  • Identify Point of View
  • Make Predictions
  • Sequence Events
  • Describe Story Structure
  • Identify Explicit Information in Non-Fiction Text
  • Summarize

As librarians we can also take it a step further and add our information literacy skills:

  • Brainstorming and webbing
  • Questioning
  • Keyword searching
  • Skimming and Scanning
  • Determining Information Gaps
  • Making Notes
  • Analyzing Text for Perspective or Bias
  • Citing Evidence
  • Summarizing
  • Synthesizing From Multiple Sources

The goal is to enrich the collection with materials that will cover all topics of diversity and make lessons easier for teachers to access. Perhaps some of these ideas can work in your schools and libraries, too. It is one way collaboration is working for me!

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