Diverse Novels for Advanced Course

BY Janelle Brangwynne

Wareham Middle School

Project Description
Starting this year, our school has implemented a new year-long course titled Advanced Literacy to serve those students who have been identified as being exceptionally skilled in reading and writing. I’d like to purchase new novels for these students to read. All of them are currently reading far above the reading level of the current novels that are provided to them. I’d like to provide them with more challenging texts so their skills can be further developed. In addition, the majority of the novels they read during their three years at the middle school are books in which the protagonist is a Caucasian male. There is very little diversity and no strong leading female characters to look up to. I’d like to provide all students with fictional texts that explore real-life historical events as told from the points of view of a diverse population, including from a variety of cultures, races and gender identities. Our school and our world are diverse, and our students need to feel represented in the literature that is provided to them.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
Who knows, maybe they will even be inspired to fight for their new-found beliefs and change the world!

Benefit to the students and the school
Through reading and sympathizing with a diverse group of characters who struggle through real-life events, students will gain an understanding and compassion that will carry out into their lives now and in the future. I hope for them to learn that there are people out there who have overcome extreme struggles, inequalities and injustices. They will learn about how history repeats itself and that the world is not much different now in some ways than it was when these books were set.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)