The Celebrating Diversity Through Literacy project was created to improve and impact educational programming for K-6 students through the introduction of diverse lived experiences in age-appropriate books. Service learning has been a significant component of the UNO Choral program and these non-music focused projects help our students capitalize on the community we’ve built in the choral program to enrich, empower and inform communities in tandem with our concerts.
Students in the UNO choirs read and recorded five books that ranged from helping K – 6 students understand adoption (“I Don’t Have Your Eyes”) to books with stories that uplift and highlight the lived experiences of diverse characters (“The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane.” These recordings and copies of the books were sent to project collaborators, Jamie Luedtke and Michaela Babic, to share and use in their classrooms to support their students literary experiences and to supplement their music education instruction.
We are grateful for our public school project collaborators Jamie Luedtke, UNO alum and music educator at Minne Lusa and Ponca elementary schools in Omaha Public Schools, and Michaela Babic, PreK – 12 vocal music educator in Bayard Public Schools.
This project aligns with the work of the National Education Association Read Across America mission to help students build their capacity to understand and acknowledge the lived experiences outside of their own. The release of these resources coincide with the National Education Association’s National Read Across American Month.