How parents can nurture global citizens through reading-How parents can nurture global citizens through reading-Author Default
WRITTEN BY
Lucy Ripman
Head of Literacy in the Lower School
March 08, 2024

How parents and educators can nurture global citizens through reading

How parents can nurture global citizens through reading-How parents can nurture global citizens through reading-Student Reading
The Power of Reading: Nurturing Young Minds through Diversity

As educators, when thinking about what it means to nurture global citizens, one of the most powerful tools that we have in our classrooms is the books that we possess. Both the books that we keep in our class libraries and those that we use in our literacy teaching. Books allow us to reflect the vibrant tapestry of the human experience and cultivate empathy among our students. For Lower School children, this gateway to knowledge not only enhances their linguistic skills but also opens the doors to a world rich in diversity and allows us to celebrate what connects us, and what makes us different. In this blog post, we'll explore why reading is crucial for Lower School children to understand the world, gain different perspectives, and truly become global citizens.

 

Reading is a fundamental part of every Lower School classroom. For Lower School children, the ability to read fluently is not just a skill; it's a gateway to exploring the vast expanse of human knowledge. As children immerse themselves in books, they absorb information, expand their vocabulary, and develop critical thinking skills that form the basis of the well-rounded education that the British International School of Boston (BISB) provides.

 

One of my favorite quotes as an educator is '“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author” - Rudine Sims Bishop.

 

At BISB, we use books to allow children to peer into different worlds, cultures, and perspectives. Literature has the unique power to transport young minds beyond the confines of their immediate surroundings, exposing them to new ideas and experiences. Through exposing students to diverse narratives, children can vicariously walk in the shoes of characters from various backgrounds, fostering an early understanding and appreciation for the diversity that exists in the world.

 

Representation matters, especially in literature aimed at children. When our young readers encounter characters who look like them, share similar experiences, or come from diverse backgrounds, it sends a powerful message of validation and inclusion. Moreover, exposure to characters from different cultures and ethnicities helps children develop empathy by allowing them to understand and appreciate the unique challenges and joys that others may face.

 

Children's literature has the potential to challenge stereotypes and break down preconceived notions. By presenting a variety of characters with diverse backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives, books help dismantle the limiting stereotypes that can shape young minds. When children encounter characters defying traditional norms, they learn to question assumptions and appreciate the beauty of individual uniqueness. What is more telling of a Global Citizen than a child who celebrates and empathizes with every individual that they encounter?

 

In an increasingly interconnected world, fostering a global mindset is crucial. Reading exposes children to stories and issues from around the globe, helping them understand the interconnectedness of our world. Whether it's through folktales from different cultures, stories set in faraway lands, or narratives addressing global challenges, literature broadens children's horizons and encourages them to think beyond geographical and cultural boundaries.

 

In today's rapidly changing society, the ability to navigate diverse cultural landscapes is an invaluable skill. Reading exposes children to the richness of multiculturalism, preparing them to thrive in a world where understanding and respecting differences are essential. By embracing diverse perspectives in literature, our Lower School children not only gain knowledge but also develop the cultural competence needed for success in an increasingly interconnected world.

 

In the hands of a curious child, a book becomes more than just a collection of pages. It transforms into a gateway to understanding, a bridge to different worlds, and a compass guiding young minds towards empathy and inclusivity. At BISB, we believe the importance of reading goes beyond academic achievement; it is the key to unlocking a broader, more interconnected understanding of the world. By emphasizing diversity in the literature we provide for our children, we not only enrich their minds but also sow the seeds for a future generation that values and celebrates the beautiful tapestry of human experience.