Inspiring African American Males to Read
You know how passionate I am about children and literature! : ) Focusing on our sweet, African American boys and reading is so imperative, too. It will take a little extra focus and TLC. I say this because even when we make our best efforts to ensure that our books are diverse, as Educators, we still sometimes forget to ensure that we have an adequate amount of diverse books that will appeal to our male students. I am not certain if you recall me sharing this, but we had a really bad moment in our school climate approximately a year ago. Our test scores were very poor in Language Arts, and the sub-group that was most challenged was African American male students in Reading. We needed to engage our African American males in reading.
Honestly, I knew the reason right away. Without getting myself into trouble, I will say that we don’t have the most culturally responsive, “I’m open to the needs and viewpoints of others”, staff. We really don’t. That saddens me. Students are not seeing clear, positive reflections of themselves on a consistent basis. After this data came to light, an emphasis was placed on ensuring that African American males had greater access to literature that reflected them and some of their interests. We also had school-wide trainings on cultural responsiveness. As a school, I don’t see that we have actively maintained that same level of focus and enthusiasm. But, it has remained on my mind and I, personally, want to be more proactive on this matter. We want all of our students to feel seen, loved, wanted, and important… right?!
Engaging African American Males in Reading
Children Can Lead the Way!
On this same note, there is an organization that I really want you to know about!! This organization is called Books N Bros. Yes! Isn’t that awesome? The name alone grabs your attention and brings a smile to your face. It was founded by a young, African American boy named Sidney Keys, III, whom also felt that he was underrepresented in the literature that he was exposed to. So, what did he do? Heroically, He stepped up to the plate and swung! This young man began his own movement. He created his own opportunities, and sought to bring other African American males along.
With his family’s support, he began a book club to encourage other boys to read. To me, his efforts are priceless and precious! I am so deeply moved by his desire to make reading cool and accessible for other young men. Books n Bros has their own website. You can find them on Instagram, too. Please take a few moments to visit his website to learn more about his vision. Stop by and lend your support. I signed up to do automatic, monthly contributions in an effort to help Sidney get more books into the hands of our future leaders and decision makers. There’s a “Donate” button on the site. They need us to help get their futures off to the best possible start- with a solid foundation. We know that being highly literate is key!
Side note: I am not an Affiliate of Books N Bros. I discovered this wonderful Book Club and movement via the news and fell in love with its purpose, and with the little boy that recognized a need and moved to make a difference!
P.S. Oprah discovered Sidney and his book club. She loves this idea, too! : )
These Books Might Inspire Your Male Students to Read More!
Before I happened upon Books N Bros, I was on my own search for books that I thought that African American boys might enjoy. This is actually where this post began. Ha ha. Squirrel! Shiny object! Excited! I found a few books/series that I thought that many of our students might enjoy. So, I read 3 books that looked really promising. Then, I recorded my reflection on those books. You can view my reviews below! I hope that you will find something that you think your students can relate to.
3 Great Books to Inspire Your Male, African-American Students to Read More from Tania N Davis on Vimeo.
If you have any book suggestions, please leave them in the comments. I am always on the hunt for great children’s literature. The more diversity and culturally responsive, the better! Let’s give our young men the same love of reading that we have!! Deal?!
Shop The Books
If you think that these books would be a great addition to your class library, you can get them for yourself now with my Affiliate Links!
We should always encourage our kids to read books. This may help them to build their own vocabularies at an early age. It can help them to start to study while waiting for them to be ready to send to school.