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Students in the United States come from a large and increasing number of racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse families. A recent analysis of major curriculum publishing companies’ core reading lists, however, found that the content of English Language Arts curricula for elementary school students fails to reflect the diversity of public school’s student population. While Black, Indigenous, and students of color make up nearly 57% of public school demographics, more than half of the books they read are written by White authors and feature mainly White characters.

The following publishing companies’ readings lists for Kindergarten to 5th grade were analyzed — Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw Hill, and Savvas Learning Company (formerly known as Pearson). Here is what we found:

  • Among the 139 authors in the McGraw Hill Wonders reading list, there were only 2 Native American authors and 2 Native American characters.
  • Of the 102 authors present in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Into Reading focal texts, there were only 3 Black authors and 0 Native American authors.
  • Out of the 65 books sampled for Savvas ReadyGen, there was only 1 Latinx character and 1 Latinx author, 0 Native American authors and 3 Native American characters.
  • 58% of authors of Savvas myView reading list are White, and out of the 150 authors, only 3 are Native American.

To review a more detailed analysis of each publishing company, please download our findings using the adjacent curriculum buttons.


More Information Listed Below:


Researchers searched curriculum company websites and booksellers to find book covers and documented whether the covers depicted humans, animals, or other images; the race of human cover characters was also recorded.

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Savvas ReadyGEN Trade Book List K-5

When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part. - Rudine Sims Bishop

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Navy Blue Rectangular Image with white text, which reads "Savvas ReadyGEN Trade Book List K-5

Savvas myView Literacy Curriculum K-5

Book cover characters were used as a proxy for main characters. These main character percentages represent all human cover characters where only one race is depicted.

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McGraw Hill Wonders - Literacy Curriculum K-5

These graphs illustrate an analysis of the racial demographics present in the McGraw Hill - Wonders 2023 “Authentic Literature” Brochure

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Into Reading Focal Texts K-6

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Into Reading Focal Texts K-6

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