Of Choice and Challenge and Superheroes

 

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Shana Karnes writes about choice and challenge in her blog on the WVCTE affiliate’s blog site.  Shana refers to kids choosing the books they read and learning to choose challenging literature, too.

“I knew that all kids were capable of reading sophisticated texts, making complex choices about when and how and what to read, and that all readers have a hunger for a challenging, engaging read.”

Shana is right, of course, but it’s all-together too possible that “challenge” can mean something else. It can mean that the books students choose to read can be challenged by a parent or community member who doesn’t like their choices.

And that’s why schools need policies like the one described in the Students’ Right to Read  and why we need to know what those policies are.

medina_high07In her blog, Meg Medina describes a visit to a school whose educators used the school’s policy to advocate for keeping Yacqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass available for their students to read. And they won!

Meg Medina notes,

“That’s what a school visit looks like when the students are trusted to read. They have a chance to think about who they are and what they are living. They have a chance to consider all the ways they can respond to what comes their way. It gives them one more tool that helps in this long job of growing up.”

She goes on to say,

“To the faculty and leadership at South County, and to the School Board and to the PTO parents who stepped up for my novel, I want to say thank you. It would have been so easy to give up, to choose another book and move on to the next task on your list. Thank you for having courage to stand up for students’ right to read. Thank you for giving thought to how to include kids who did opt out. Thank you for modeling how to be strong. Courage and compassion are in ample supply at your school. For all the ways your students treated me as the star, I hope they never forget that the real superheroes in this have been in their building all along.”

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About Millie Davis

Millie Davis is Senior Developer for Affiliates, and Director of the Intellectual Freedom Center at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). In addition she works on NCTE’s communications efforts, particularly on social media. Millie's passion is working with literacy teachers across the country and beyond whose passion for their students and their students' learning is their reason for going to work each day.

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