ThriftBooks will make annual donation of 20,000 books curated by Barbershop Books.
The nation's most innovative solution for inspiring young black boys to read

Let’s Talk About Racism

Hello friends,

Thank you for subscribing to The Irby Review and sharing your thoughts with me each month. Here are some articles I discovered that would be of interest to you and your family:

Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi are Teaming Up to Help Young People Navigate Racism
Two award-winning authors collaborated on a young adult book debuting in March 2020 named “Stamped: Racism, Anti-racism, and You”. The project is derived from Ibram Kendi’s book “Stamped From the Beginning” which traces origins of racist ideas and proposes tools to combat them. Kendi sought Jason Reynolds partnership as Reynolds is an author of novels and poetry for middle-grade audiences as well as NAACP Image Award Winner and National Book Award Finalist. The duo wanted to ensure the subject matter is approachable for youths and to encourage the younger generation to engage in ongoing dialogue about racism. Read More

No, Your Kid Shouldn’t Get a Gold Star for Reading
Most parents are guilty of it; providing a child with an extrinsic reward for reading. Ms. Paul, editor of the NY Times Book Review, suggests parents embrace the position that reading in itself is a reward and home is the place where childrenget to read. Here are tips Ms. Paul offers for moms and dads:
– Lead by example: Show how you get to relax with a book and talk among others about what books you are reading;
– Regularly stop at bookstores and the library;
– Get and give books as gifts;
– Practice oppositional behavior by telling a child that he/she may not be ready for a book, put it on a shelf and walk away.
Schools push reading and formal lessons. Reading outside of the classroom should be fun, not obligatory. Read More

Lessons in Large Print: New Report Reviews Student Reading Skills and Outcome
“Project Tomorrow” and Thorndike Press released a study about the efficacy of large print books on student reading skills, and their well-being in grades 3-12. it was reported that students enjoyed reading larger print and felt less anxious as opposed to smaller print when they can lose their place and read at a slower rate. And how did the teachers feel? The teachers said larger print benefits students who lack academic self-confidence and those who were reading below grade level demonstrated improved comprehension. An overwhelming majority of teachers would like to use large print text in their future lessons. Read More

Press Release: Councilmember Todd is Introduces “The Reading Equity Acceleration Declaration Act of 2019
It’s safe to say that some districts, cities, and states are failing America’s children. Nearly 8 in 10 at-risk students, defined as teens who have a high probability of dropping out of school, are not reading on grade level. In the District of Columbia there is no comprehensive early literacy evaluation, nor intervention until the end of 3rd grade which is too late. Students who do not read proficiently by 3rd grade are four times more likely to leave school. Just recently, Councilmember Brandon Todd introduced the “Reading Equity Acceleration Declaration Act of 2019.” The legislative bill proposes to:
– Establish intervention programs to ensure that all kids in grade school can read at or above grade level at the end of 3rd grade;
– Require local education agencies to submit plans to administer an annual academic assessment for children in kindergarten through third grade to determine students’ progress in reading comprehension.
Let’s hope it passes and other districts around the country act quickly to do the same. Read More

Guest View: Parent-Teacher Relationship Makes all the Difference for the Student
This article was part of a back-to-school series of interviews with school superintendents. It quickly peaked my interest because it covered a topic which is understated and overlooked; the importance of the parent-teacher relationship and its contribution to a child’s successful school year. No matter the age, the child can see adults working together and sharing information when a relationship is forged between the caretaker and teacher. Superintendent of the Lodi District in California, Ms. Nichols-Washer, speaks of a “two-way street” so the parent and teacher can discuss academic development, issues outside of the classroom, and additional assistance for the student if needed sooner, than later.  Have you ever asked your kids what they did today in school and they responded “nothing?”  She also reminds us how to start a conversation with our children about their day in school. Read More

COSEBOC Standards & Promising Practices for Schools Educating Boys of Color
Founded in 2007, Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color “COSEBOC” established a mission of supporting and strengthening districts and school leaders dedicated to the academic and social development of boys of color. In partnership with an array of scholars, researchers and practitioners Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at NYU, Dr. Eddie Fergus-Arcia, helped create the third edition of standards designed to create positive and successful learning environments for all students. Ron Walker, Executive Director, hopes this framework is a starting point, and caring and dedicated educators will inquire about learning more. See Details

Please let me know what you think by replying to this email. I’d love to hear your thoughts about any of these articles.


Alvin Irby
Founder & Chief Reading Inspirer
Barbershop Books


– Did you miss any of the past issues? View them all here.
– For book recs, helpful tips, more ed commentary, visit Barbershop Books’ blog!