• Eye Opening
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Today’s reading curricula are failing young black learners. Out of every 100 black fourth-grade boys, fewer than 15 are proficient readers. Alvin Irby – educator, author and founder of the literacy nonprofit Barbershop Books – believes cultural competency and an innovative, child-centered curriculum will help these kids cultivate a love of books and identify as readers. getAbstract recommends this inspiring, humorous talk to educators, policy makers and parents.


When educator and reading activist Alvin Irby was a little boy, his mother gave him reading lessons at the kitchen table while the neighborhood children played outside. His reading improved, but his love for reading suffered. In high school, Irby tired of his English class’s spelling tests and simple short stories and asked to move to Advanced English. There, the curriculum included reading novels and writing book reports. Yet upon joining the class, Irby mused, “Where did all these white people come from?” The high school was more than 70% black and Latino, but the class was noticeably white. The experience introduced...

About the Speaker

Educator and stand-up comedian Alvin Irby is the founder of Barbershop Books, the recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize and the author of Gross Greg.

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

Working While Black
How to Get Serious About Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
An Insight, an Idea with Malala Yousafzai
How to Build Your Confidence – and Spark It in Others
Why It’s Worth Listening to People You Disagree With
The Lies Our Culture Tells Us About What Matters – and a Better Way to Live

Related Channels