Reading to End Racism (RER) is an inter-generational literacy program designed to engage first through fifth grade students with books and personal stories, and spark discussion about eliminating racism, bullying and discrimination.
RER provides training, resources and support for volunteers, teachers and parents to talk with their children about racism and discrimination.
Student, Foothill Elementary School
2021-2022 School Year
It’s been a busy spring for Reading to End Racism (RER)! We visited schools in Boulder and Louisville in February and March, including Reading Days every week in March. We also held our “How to Talk to Your Kids About Racism” parent training for Creekside Elementary’s PTO group.
Every time we do Reading to End Racism in schools, we are blown away by the insightful questions the students ask and moved by the personal stories students often share. At one Reading Day this spring, a volunteer was reading and discussing the book “I am Golden” by Eva Chen, which is a wonderful ode to the immigrant experience, especially for Chinese American children. After reading one section of the book about what a strange world it is that people will say we are different one minute and then say we are all the same the next, one little boy shared how hurtful it is to him when he is accidently called by the name of the other Indian boy in class and when the other boy is called by his name. “It makes me upset because we are both from India but we are very different.”
Thank you to all the volunteers who made these Reading Days possible! “I appreciate that our volunteers see the need and step in to read to any additional classrooms”, said Shiquita Yarbrough, director, community engagement and equity. We are proud to work alongside you to start conversations about racism, discrimination and bullying with children early.
Questions? Contact Shiquita Yarbrough at 303-443-0419 x103 or email@example.com.
Reading to End Racism (RER) is a grassroots organization founded in 1998 by a group of retired local teachers. They had seen racism and discrimination in their classrooms and wanted to create a safer, more supportive educational environment for local students. YWCA Boulder County became involved with the program in 2006, originally providing office space and eventually adopting the program in 2013 to help it continue and grow.
Since 2011, RER has reached more than 29,000 students.
In the 2021-2022 school year, more than 2,200 K-5th students at six BVSD schools participated in our RER school readings. All the readings have been in person.
“I think racism is wrong because we are all the same on the inside.” — Student, Sanchez Elementary
“I will always be an ally.” — Student, Flatirons Elementary
“This is the best presentation of what racism is about and how to recognize it in one’s self and others.” — Teacher, Heatherwood Elementary
“I thought it was a great lesson and super-appropriate for first graders. Honoring culture and differences within our community is culturally responsive teaching!” — Teacher, Whittier Elementary
Reading to end racism using stories to teach about discrimination – Daily Camera, November 23, 2019
“Keep the story going”: How community volunteers nudge elementary students to take on racism – Chalkbeat Colorado, October 31, 2019
Rebuilding bridges: YWCA Reading to End Racism program starts the conversation young – Boulder Weekly, May 23, 2019
RER volunteers in action
Thanks to our in-kind sponsor, StickerGiant, for their support of Reading to End Racism.