In celebration of March is Reading Month, Queen’s Grant Community School drew attention to boosting the self-esteem of their students. Teachers at Queen’s Grant recently spent a day celebrating the unique qualities of each student by reading “I Am Enough” by Grace Byers. This picture book is a lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another.
The book reads: “I’m not meant to be like you, you’re not meant to be like me. Sometimes we will get along and sometimes we will disagree. I know that we don’t look the same. Our skin, our eyes, our hair, our frame, but that does not dictate our worth. We both have places here on earth. And in the end, we are right here to live a life of love, not fear.”
After all grade levels read the book and were tasked to write a positive word that they think describes them to complete the sentence “I am _________.” Following the completion of the activity, notes from all students were compiled into a beautiful, uplifting display.
Some students took the opportunity to celebrate their cultural/ethnic heritage and wrote things like “Hispanic,” “African-American,” and “Latina.” Other students were proud of things like being “brave,” “compassionate,” “unique,” and “handsome.” A few even wrote words like “everything,” “worthy,” “kind,” “funny”, and “valuable.”
“One of the reasons I chose “' Am Enough' as an all-school read is because it celebrates diversity with many ethnicities represented, which I wanted students to find strength in,” shared Melissa Carpenter, library tech specialist at Queen’s Grant.
According to KidsHealth, “Kids who feel good about themselves have the confidence to try new things. They are more likely to try their best. They feel proud of what they can do. Self-esteem helps kids cope with mistakes. It helps kids try again, even if they fail at first. As a result, self-esteem helps kids do better at school, at home, and with friends.” Self-esteem matters!
“As adults, we all do our best work when we feel confident in ourselves, and students are no different,” said Carpenter. “Reminding them of the things they can be proud of and boosting that self-confidence is only going to have a positive effect on their classroom performance.”
When asked why fostering and cultivating self-esteem in students is so crucial, Carpenter shared that she wants every student to know their value and worth, not just within classrooms and schools, but within society.
Queen’s Grant has a tradition of celebrating reading throughout March. They start by celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday, which used to be known as the National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America Day. Over the last year or so, the NEA has shifted its focus to celebrating a diverse nation of readers throughout the year. As a result, Carpenter has worked to honor the tradition of having a fun, Seussical kind of day and also bring in the diversity piece with their other activities throughout the month.