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Sesame Workshop Introduces the ABCs of Racial Literacy

Sesame Workshop Introduces the ABCs of Racial Literacy

These resources are part of Sesame Workshop's Coming Together initiative—an ongoing commitment to racial justice.


On Tuesday, Sesame Workshop introduced the "ABCs of Racial Literacy," a set of resources part of their Coming Together initiative. The resources—which include educational framework, ongoing research, and a rolling release of content—are designed to help families build racial literacy and have conversations with young children. It will also help guide future seasons of Sesame Street.

According to a recent study of children 6-11 on children and racism (commissioned by Sesame Workshop), racism was top of mind for almost 50 percent of children surveyed. It was even more prevalent in the responses of Black children. Unfortunately, only 23 percent of parents reported that specific resources actually help them prepare for conversations about race and racism with their children, despite the majority of them being comfortable with their children learning about these topics through books, media, or school. The "ABCs of Racial Literacy" is just one of the ways Sesame Workshop seeks to fill a gap for parents as they begin having these discussions with their children.

The resources use age-appropriate language and strategies to guide difficult questions and conversations surrounding race and racism. For example, one video features Elmo and two Muppets—5-year-old Wes and his father Elijah—and Elmo wants to know why Wes' skin is brown. Elijah explains melanin and that the color of our skin is an important part of who we are. In another, the Muppets celebrate their own unique identities in a music video.



Other resources include families talking about their experiences and activities and conversation starters for families. Additional professional development materials for professionals like social workers, healthcare providers, and educators will also be available.

RELATED: 17 Conversation Starters for Kids

“Sesame Workshop has always stood for diversity, inclusion, equity, and kindness. As a trusted source for families, we have a responsibility to speak out for racial justice and empower families to have conversations about race and identity with their children at a young age,” said Kay Wilson Stallings, executive vice president of creative and production, Sesame Workshop. “The work to dismantle racism begins by helping children understand what racism is and how it hurts and impacts people. Sadly, today’s announcement comes at a time of racial and social discord when many families are in need of support in talking to their children about racism. We’re proud to reaffirm our Coming Together commitment to racial justice, which will be woven into new Sesame Workshop content for years to come.”

The resources offered as part of "ABCs of Racial Literacy" are available in both English and Spanish at no cost at SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether.

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Melissa Wickes

Author: Melissa Wickes is a graduate of Binghamton University and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute. She's written hundreds of articles to help New York parents make better decisions for their families. When she's not writing, you can find her eating pasta, playing guitar, or watching reality TV. See More

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