Fall 2022      Volume 50, Number 4

Professional Development: Literacy Leaders’ Text Recommendations on Social Justice,
Cultural Relevancy, and Equity

By Sophie Degener, Adelfio Garcia, Ryan McCarty, and Ivy Sitkoski

Document: Column 

Introductory Paragraph:  Someone recently asked me why I became a teacher and why I have decided to stay in education, in spite of all of the challenges facing our schools. Like many teachers, I wanted to make the world a better place. I saw the promise of high-quality universal public education as the great equalizer, giving everyone a fighting chance to build the life they wanted for themselves and their families. Looking back now, I realize my view of education at the time was a bit naïve, centered around meritocracy and the power of an individual to overcome all challenges through their own force of will. I overlooked the degree to which structural and systemic factors can limit the opportunities of many of our students in spite of their best efforts. Nonetheless, I still believe education is the most powerful tool we have to create a better world. Even though the challenges we face as educators can seem daunting, we take comfort in the fact that we are not alone. We are part of a massive community of educators, families, and students who still believe in the power of our schools, and we rely upon their collective strength and wisdom when the odds feel stacked against us. Our reviews this month include books that acknowledge the challenges our schools and students face, and help us work to overcome them. First, we review a book that shares practical suggestions for using culturally relevant teaching as a force for justice. Next, we share a book that encourages us to look beyond literacy strategies and skills to understand our students as human beings. Our third book helps us ensure our youngest readers get off to a strong start by developing foundational literacy skills. Our final book shares practical ideas to help us reimage our schools in response to the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. We express our deepest gratitude top those of you who have chosen to stay in education. We are in awe of your commitment, and we hope these resources help you in your efforts.

DOI:  https://doi.org/10.33600/IRCJ.50.4.2022.62

Page Numbers:   62-66

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