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LGBTQ-Inclusive Resource for Elementary

Media Contact:
Joanna Cifredo
Media Relations Manager


The first-of-its-kind Resource for LGBTQ-Inclusive Elementary Education Released by
Teachers College Press and GLSEN

New York, NY (June 05, 2018) – GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth, has partnered with Teachers College Press to introduce Reading the Rainbow, a new educator resource promoting LGBTQ-inclusive literacy for elementary schools. Based on several years of observations and co-teaching in multiple classrooms, this is the first book-length guide for teachers about LGBTQ-inclusive English Language Arts (ELA) instruction at the elementary level.

“Evermore educators and schools are including LGBTQ people and history throughout the curriculum from kindergarten through high school, and this important new book from GLSEN and Teachers College Press vividly illustrates how LGBTQ-inclusive teaching is not only imminently possible but also deeply relevant and necessary in elementary education,” said Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director. “This book is rich with the experience of many years in many places, providing best practices and examples of successful ways to implement LGBTQ-inclusive literacy in elementary school classrooms. The results – in terms of children’s literacy, their social and emotional development, and respect for all in our schools – are heartening and hopeful.”

Authored by professors Caitlin L. Ryan and Jill M. Hermann-Wilmarth, two education experts and former elementary school teachers, Reading the Rainbow shows how expanding the English Language Arts curriculum to include representations of LGBTQ people and themes will benefit all students. In GLSEN’s 2015 National School Climate Survey showed that LGBTQ students who attended schools with inclusive curriculum were less likely to hear anti-LGBTQ slurs, less likely to feel unsafe in school, and more likely to feel accepted by their peers.

“We have seen how helping elementary school teachers expand their English language arts practice so that it is more LGBTQ-inclusive can make a difference in the lives of all students and families. We are hopeful that Reading the Rainbow provides educators with tools and ideas they need to create classrooms where all students are welcome and reflected," said Jill M. Hermann-Wilmarth, Co-author.

“Jill and I know from our work as educators that there are lots of teachers who want to serve all their students, including their LGBTQ students and those from LGBTQ-headed families, but they don’t always know how. We are glad to be able to provide an accessible, practical resource drawn from examples in real classrooms to help answer teachers’ questions and provide them with ideas to use in their own teaching,” said Caitlin L. Ryan, Co-author.

Reading the Rainbow is designed to be interactive, providing readers with opportunities to consider these new approaches with respect to their own classrooms and traditional literacy instruction.

Book Features:

  • Explains why LGBTQ people and topics should be included in the elementary curriculum and how English language arts is a natural fit for such instruction.

  • Describes approaches that teachers can use to address LGBTQ topics in the elementary classroom.

  • Provides classroom examples of teachers using these inclusive-teaching strategies.

  • Offers guidance for talking with parents and administrators.

  • Includes lists of recommended children’s literature and helpful websites of both ELA and LGBTQ organizations.

Reading the Rainbow is available for purchase at



GLSEN works to create safe and inclusive schools for all. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of 39 community-led chapters in 26 states brings GLSEN’s expertise to local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for inclusive schools at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research, and educator training programs, please visit