Reading to End Racism
Reading to End Racism’s goal is to raise awareness of the harm racism causes and to help develop skills and strategies to actively counter racism in order to create a supportive and welcoming environment for all children.
Teacher and Reader Roles:
The partnership between the community and school in the Reading to End Racism Activity is a beautiful statement to our students about how much their neighbors care about them and this topic. To make this a successful and comfortable activity for all, we thought it might help to focus attention on the teamwork between the reader and teacher.
Readers provide the children with the experience of a powerful story, both the one they read and their personal story of why it was so important to them to participate in this activity. We would suggest that volunteers enjoy the pleasure of reading the book to the children, focusing on personal connections they made with the book, and why they wanted to be part of this experience.
The teachers' role will be to gently guide the conversation between the reader and the children. Teachers support the readers and students by facilitating the discussion that encourages the children to reflect on the story, and its connection to ending racism and creating a celebration of diversity.
This is a collaboration between the reader and the teacher. A conversation or connection will take place in advance to plan the discussion and clarify roles. Some readers might want to be more actively involved in leading discussion; others might wish to rely on the teacher to facilitate.
- View training video by the YWCA of Boulder County and our very own video created at CCS featuring Dr. Denise Dunbar!
- Connect with CCS Librarian Heidi Huestis email@example.com who will provide you with the book chosen for the grade level you will be working with. You may also wish to review the literature available by visiting these sites:
- Reading to End Racism book list created by the YWCA of Boulder
- Charlotte Reading to End Racism book list developed by Margaret Woodruff, Charlotte Public Library
- We Need Diverse Books official campaign site with book recommendations
- Lee & Low Books "The Open Book" blog on race, diversity, education and children's books
- Contact teacher to plan discussion questions.
- Visit is about 30-40 minutes. Please arrive 10 minutes ahead of time.
- A special note to our newest readers: We hope that the information included in this on-line training site will provide you will all of the information you will need to prepare for your RER participation. However, we understand that conducting a classroom reading and discussion may feel a bit daunting. Therefore, we would like to offer you the opportunity to engage a one-to-one coach who can work more directly with you as you prepare for your involvement. If you wish to make use of this assistance, please feel free to contact Jeff Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trained volunteers are invited into elementary or middle school classrooms to introduce themselves, read from age-appropriate books, and facilitate a group discussion.
The readers are also trained to use storytelling, reading, and facilitation techniques to help ensure a successful experience for the students.
The outcome of the experience is that students had the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts about racism as well as brainstorm ways that we can all work to eliminate racism.
RTER Readers’ Guidelines
Part One (approximately 3-5 minutes)
- Introduce yourself and the program (write on board).
- Explain why you are doing this by using a personal story.
Part Two (approximately 20 – 35 minutes)
- Read age-appropriate literature about racism.
- Facilitate an age-appropriate discussion about racism.
Part Four (approximately 7 - 10 minutes)
- Thank students for showing respect, their ideas, and for their courage.
- If they want to talk some more, ask them to talk to their teacher.