American Born Readers: A Multicultural, Multimedia Attempt to Challenge Perspectives and Inspire Reading

byRobert M. Schwartz

The need to make time to read mirrors the need to discover multiple perspectives. Both are important culturally, intellectually, and socially; both sometimes require that we challenge ourselves. When faced with so many of life’s mundane challenges and distractions, it is easy to fall into our screens and our self-centric viewpoints of what is, to put down good books as well as our willingness to accept that not everyone comes from the same place or sees things the same way we do. This curricular unit is intended to correct both behaviors, creating a classroom atmosphere where these corrections – becoming readers and becoming people who are aware and accepting of all our differences and similarities – are the dominant culture. Utilizing Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese as well as provocative new media by Claudia Rankine, stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, transgender author Janet Mock, and other multicultural and multimedia work that represent us all, students will find stories of themselves and, of equal import, stories of many others. Students will explore how discovery through this practice can awaken interest in finding out more about the world, ourselves, and each other through reading.

(Developed for English, grade 9; recommended for English, grade 9)

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