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Leon County Government hosts lecture discussing the importance of diverse reading for children

Parents take exposing children to diverse reading into their own hands
Posted at 6:30 PM, Jan 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 19:11:59-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Gender, disabilities, race, culture, and religion. These are all topics that can be difficult to discuss with children in a way they are able to understand. Though, some parents feel even if the conversation is uncomfortable, it doesn't mean it's not necessary.

"Children learn as they're growing up through books, tv, toys the things that they're exposed to. That is how they learn what our world is about," said Innovation Officer Kaycee Shiley.

Kaycee Shiley is also a mother of two and feels exposing children to things outside of their everyday life helps build empathy for their peers. Adding that in her home, she buys dolls of different complexions and is intentional about reading books of different cultures.

"Making sure that kids are seeing themselves in what they're reading. That they are seeing themselves as a character and not a caricature," said Shiley.

Now, Leon County Government is hosting a lecture about diverse reading featuring Dr. Lakeisha Johnson, an assistant Professor in the Communication Science and Disorders Program at Florida state.

The soon-to-be mother of 2 said this has been a passion of hers for many years. Johnson added after she had her daughter, she felt it was her duty to expose her to as much diverse reading as possible. Adding diverse reading material is a social justice issue.

"This is not just something that matters for K-12 schooling. It matters for the whole community, for the jobs that are available, who can apply for those jobs. It matters around the school to prison pipeline. It impacts us in all the things that we do," said Johnson.

Dr. Johnson believes books can be impactful and help make children global citizens for the world and it can all start with a book the grab from the local library.

"Always be open minded. The great thing about a library is it has something for everyone," said Shiley.

To hear more about the importance of diverse reading, the Leon County Government will host a lecture featuring Dr. Johnson on Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the Leon County main library.