February 2022: Read Across America and Women’s History Month

Dear Local Educators,

We developed The Scene with SEEN last March after Read Across America Day. Read Across America Day is celebrated each year on Theodore Geisel’s birthday, and therefore also sometimes known as Dr. Seuss Day, but over the years it has become distanced from Dr. Seuss, and instead celebrates diverse books to help each and every young person see themselves as readers. Last year’s Read Across America Day (March 2, 2021) also coincided with the Geisel family’s decision to stop publishing six Dr. Seuss books because of racist imagery, putting educators in the crosshairs left and right.

We created The Scene with SEEN in response, in the hopes of providing educators with some background and resources each month to help them look ahead with an eye toward diversity, equity, and inclusion.

This month we come to you with some thoughts and resources for Read Across America Day (taking place on March 2nd) and for Women’s History Month (the month of March).

Read Across America Day Resources

Whether or not your school will be marking this day with celebration, it is a nice reminder to infuse literacy and diversity into your classroom on a regular basis. Trying something new (even a new book) in the classroom can be intimidating but remember, you don’t need to be the expert – go on a journey with your students and learn and grow together! Also remember that picture books are powerful teaching tools across all grade levels!

  • President Biden’s Proclamation on Read Across America Day 2021 was a departure from similar proclamations in prior years (under both presidents Trump and Obama) in that it omitted any mention of Dr. Seuss.
  • Read Across America isn’t just about one day. The National Education Association (who spearheaded the day in 1998) has put together this amazing list of diverse books with a different focus area for each month and book options for Elementary, Middle and High School. The NEA also has a guide for Read Across America Day specifically with ideas for how to mark the day.
  • Social Justice Books is a website that has compiled lists of diverse books for students and educators arranged by topics on everything from hair to incarceration to science fiction to mindfulness.

Women’s History Month Resources

  • The official site of Women’s History Month includes resources for teachers from the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian and others.
    • One offering is this lesson guide to accompany reading In the Time of Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez. This historical novel explores the quest of women for equal rights across borders and cultures.
    • Another is a compilation of resources about Maya Angelou including biography, video clips, and links to her poetry.
  • Soccer, Salaries, and Sexism is a lesson aimed at middle schoolers from the Anti-Defamation League that includes a variety of resources and links to other related lessons.

~ The SEEN Team

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