Multicultural Literacy

While coordinating free book fairs at schools across Duval County, READ USA saw first-hand the importance of providing children from all backgrounds with books depicting people who look like them.

When the COVID-19 pandemic prevented READ USA from hosting its yearly book fairs, the nonprofit quickly mobilized to offer virtual “read alouds” from diverse children’s books whose characters and stories represent under-resourced communities such as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, First Nations, LGBTQ+, persons with different abilities and non-mainstream identities. All stories are read aloud by local leaders who volunteer their time to share a favorite children’s book they identify with. Since 2020, the multicultural literacy library has expanded to include even more tools and resources for parents and teachers to inspire readers and promote more cultural awareness and equity in our communities.

Jeremy's Journey

Every month, READ USA publishes a new edition of Jeremy’s Journey, a book that follows a fictional character, Jeremy, who meets with some of Northeast Florida’s most well-known community leaders and learns their stories. The purpose is to showcase local, diverse leaders and perpetuate representation by connecting leaders and students through literacy. Jeremy’s Journey books also meet 4th grade social studies requirements, thereby adding a locally created resource to educational curriculum.

Jeremy reminds us that “Readers are Leaders, I know that’s true. I’m looking for leaders, to prove that to you!”

Teacher Resources

The Multicultural Literacy Project includes a collection of resource videos for teachers. These videos will help teachers understand how to use read alouds to teach for vocabulary and comprehension. The videos also will help you increase children’s engagement and support them in learning empathy. Some teacher videos reference books in our read aloud section. We encourage you to watch the read aloud videos associated with these topics.

Parent Resources

The Multicultural Literacy Project includes a collection of resource videos for parents. These videos will help parents understand how to choose appropriate books to read and discuss with children. The videos also will help you teach perspective taking and tackle tough questions children may ask. Some parent videos reference books in our read aloud section. We encourage you to watch the read aloud videos associated with these topics.

Interviews

The Multicultural Literacy Project includes a collection of interview videos with local leaders about topics of diversity, inclusion, and equity. It is our hope that these videos increase cultural awareness, value differences, and support a sense of community.

Read Alouds

Providing children with books of people who look like them, and stories that reflect their own culture and race, contributes to their development of an appreciation of self. In many cultures, storytelling and children’s books are used to transmit cultural values and attitudes. When children interact with a story or book, they may identify with the main character, the minor characters, the main problem, or other features of the story. Through these connections, books serve to transmit cultural and moral values to children.

The children’s books we chose for the Multicultural Literacy Project are authentic to the narrative, storyteller, and culture which it represents. The characters and stories represent a variety of underrepresented groups including people who identify as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, First Nations, LGBTQ+, persons with disabilities, and non-mainstream identities.

The book readers in these videos are a diverse group of local leaders. They volunteered their time to share their favorite children’s books through video. We hope you enjoy watching and listening to these treasured books and the readers who bring them to life!

For more information or to support this program directly, please contact Rob Kelly at rob@readusainc.com.

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