Women's History Month: Empowering female readers to become leaders!
Women's History is American History! If "the future is female", then it starts in our classrooms today. Specifically, our girls need to start learning about courageous, inspiring women from history from a young age! Our classroom libraries show what we care about. Whether we admit it or not, our interests and personal tendencies are reflected in the books we have in our classroom. The books we invest in should represent women changing the world. If we want to inspire young females, let's start with empowering them by what they read.
We wanted to share some of our favorite nonfiction texts with you. As we grow and curate our favorite fiction and picture books, we will do a separate post for them. Let's start with graphic novels.
Don't think for a second that graphic novels are "for unmotivated boy readers". That is not true! Graphic novels are easy to understand, add emotional weight to stories, and are a key part of any library. I've had many female students, reluctant readers or not, dive into graphic novels and become hooked on these amazing texts. Don't limit your girls to fantasy fiction. I love using graphic novels to motivate and engage reluctant and struggling readers. It's even better when those graphic novels feature history AND represent many different cultures and backgrounds. My favorites are by Graphic Library published by Capstone Press. These books are perfect for upper elementary and middle school classrooms. There's a mix of text boxes and comic bubbles, a glossary, index, and amazingly detailed comics. Two of my personal favorite biography graphic novels are Dolley Madison Saves History and Jane Goodall, Animal Scientist. They are a bit of an investment but if you think you'll stay in the same grade level for several years or teach history, these are well worth every penny. Your students will love them and they will thank you for adding these to your library. (Consider creating an Amazon Wishlist or Donors Choose to help fund these!)
Do you use Rookie Reader Biographies in your classroom library? I've been using them for YEARS and they are amazing for students in upper grades who are struggling and reluctant readers. Many are out of print now, but you can find some on Amazon and be on the lookout at your local thrift stores. I love Rookie Readers because they have pictures and larger text for readability, short chunks of information on each page, and come in a HUGE range of nonfiction topics. You will be gently exposing them to a wide variety of information that they can appropriately digest- without the risk of them feeling threatened, overwhelmed, or confused. Honestly, they are perfect for any elementary classroom. While their reading levels typically range from second to third grade, they are great quick reads or again, helpful for adding more nonfiction texts to your classroom library.
Nat Geo Kids have always been my "go to" source for quality nonfiction. Levels 2 and 3 are a bit more advanced and are great practice for building reading stamina. I love practicing nonfiction text features with these.
We are loving the "Who Was" series. They are best suited for third grade all the way into middle school. Each includes 10-12 chapters kept to 100 pages, timelines, and some B&W sketches to keep things interesting. Sacagawea and Mother Teresa are our favorites!
Once you've found some great books to read with your students, download this free Women's History Month timeline activity. This resource includes a timeline with 16 events in history involving women. This is by no means a comprehensive list of important events, but wanted to highlight some key points in history related to females. This would be an excellent no-prep activity for morning work or sub plans during Women's History month. There are 10 questions that students will answer by analyzing the timeline. We hope you and your students enjoy!
Interested in some leveled texts about some amazing women-past and present? We have 30 biographies filled with 𝒶𝓂𝒶𝓏𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓈𝓉𝑜𝓇𝒾𝑒𝓈 of courage, tenaciousness, and diligence. These differentiated and integrated lessons and activities are perfect for Women's History Month and ALL YEAR LONG! Engage your students with differentiated reading passages and comprehension questions about Anne Frank, Molly Pitcher, Raina Telgemeier, Malala Yousafzai, and many more!
This one about Katherine Johnson is actually a FREE preview set of the entire passage bundle!