Will Students Read More with Culturally Relevant Books?

It’s a question many teachers and principals have on their minds – how to get kids more interested in reading. And it’s one topic that our NWEA account manager Jessica Lyons regularly brings up with principals and teachers in their “Data Dialogues.”

“Every season, I have a Data Dialogue with all of my partner schools and districts, which is a conversation about their data,” Lyons says. When she spoke with Dr. Sonya Spaulding, the principal at Lindop School outside of Chicago, they reviewed the students MAP Growth Reading scores, looked at  ways to encourage student growth, and discussed what the students were reading.

As Lyons shares, “Dr. Spaulding and I bounced questions back and forth together. The questions we pondered were: Why are they not interested in reading? Is it interesting? Is it relevant? Do they see themselves in the books? That’s when we started talking about books and cultural relevance.”

They also discussed book clubs and how to find material in which the students could “see themselves,” as Lyons says. You can see what happened next in our video about Lindop School and their 8th grade book club:

If you like this powerful story, you can vote for Dr. Spaulding and Jessica Lyons to present “Boosting Literacy with Culturally Relevant Books” at SXSW EDU 2019. The deadline is August 30, so vote soon!

Here’s how to vote:

You can also read more about the Lindop School’s 8th grade book club in this Village Free Press story.


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