Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Engaging Readers with Literary Mirrors

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Apr 20, 2017 3:02:00 PM

“How can we engage children with books?” Teachers, literacy specialists, and publishers face this big question every day. Even if we teach young children about phonics and sight words, they will not successfully become independent readers unless they think that books are interesting.

One obstacle to reader engagement is that very few children’s books feature meaningful characters with minority identities. Classic children’s books feature white children living with two parents in a financially stable home. However, many children today do not fit this lifestyle, and they have trouble becoming invested in characters that seem so different to them. The library becomes an unwelcoming place that doesn’t accept minority identities—as a result, the children lose their interest in reading.

Rudine Sims Bishop describes this situation as a lack of literary “mirrors,” where readers can see their own lives and experiences reflected in the text. A mirror encourages self-affirmation and helps readers make connections between the book and their own lives. Thus, it’s essential that every child have access to mirrors in the books that they read.
 
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Hameray is committed to featuring diverse characters and stories in our products. The Kaleidoscope Collection features authors of "diverse geographic and teaching backgrounds, [allowing] every student an opportunity to find the right books that best suit them":

  • Narratives such as Tortilla Sundays and The Hospital Can Be Fun feature stories about children with different cultures and abilities.
  • My Big Sister, The Tarp Monster, and The Friendship Shell feature protagonists of color.
  • Children of ethnic minorities will even find mirrors in nonfiction informational texts such as Here I Am! and Hot and Cold.
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This blog only mentions a few of the many Hameray titles that will engage any child. All readers should have the right to be engaged with literary mirrors!

 

 

Bishop, Rudine Sims. “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.” Originally published in Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, v. 6, no. 3. 1990.

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For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection, click the image below.

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Diversity, Reading, Mirrors

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