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Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.
Reading Without Walls
Reading initiatives frequently get kids to read and that’s indisputably good. But Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a graphic novelist (aka cartoonist), former teacher, and father, is encouraging readers to think and read outside the box.
Yang’s ambassadorial motto is “Reading Without Walls.” And he’s encouraging kids in classrooms everywhere across the United States (and maybe the world) to do just that with a reading program.
The program description encourages reading diverse books. But “Diversity comes in many forms: race, religion, gender, geography, sexual orientation, class, ability and more.” It means reading about something or someone you haven’t yet come across. Visit the Reading Without Walls website or download the activity guide.
Don’t know what to read or suggest? There are lots of lists on the Children's Book Council site and you can visit your local library or bookstore.
Maybe if adults encourage young people to read without walls, there won’t be as many hurdles to overcome in the future. After all, it’s tougher to dislike or misunderstand others when you’ve walked in their shoes — and that’s just what books allow readers to do: meet and empathize with others, put themselves in another time, place, or personality; build community, even experience the impossible.
Let’s encourage reading without walls. It will diminish the need to build them.