Tag Archives: AARI

Text Options for the African American Read-In

Quote from Jerri Cobb Scott: It is important for all of us to see ourselves in books.When selecting texts to have as part of African American Read-Ins, many people first think of books or poems. What about using plays or dramas?

The works of playwright August Wilson are a good place to start. His play, Fences, won him critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. It is currently a Major Motion Picture directed by Denzel Washington, and starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Students can read Fences, then watch the film and compare the two.

Sticking with August Wilson and looking at his play, The Piano Lesson, readily invites students to ask a number of questions—big and small—about the characters, setting, conflict, and symbols in the work. After reading the first act, students learn how to create effective discussion questions and then put them to use in student-led seminar discussions after Act 1 and again at the end of the play. Read more in the ReadWriteThink.org lesson plan, “Facilitating Student-Led Seminar Discussions with The Piano Lesson.”

This lesson from ReadWriteThink.org invites students to explore the things relevant to a character from Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun, such as Mama’s plant, to unlock the drama’s underlying symbolism and themes. Students explore character traits and participate in active learning as they work with the play. Students use an interactive drama map to explore character and conflict, and then write and share character-item poems.

If the genre of plays or dramas is too much of a challenge, what if students use both their analytical and creative skills to adapt passages from a novel into a ten-minute play? This lesson plan invites students to read Beloved or another suitable novel. Students then review some of the critical elements of drama, focusing on differences between narrative and dramatic texts, including point of view. They discuss the role of conflict in the novel, and work in small groups to search the novel for a passage they can adapt into a ten-minute play. Students write their play adaptation in writer’s workshop sessions, focusing on character, setting, conflict, and resolution. When the play draft is complete, students review and revise it, then rehearse and present their play to the class. As the plays are performed, students use a rubric to peer-review each group’s work. Because students are responding to a novel with significant internal dialogue and conflict, they are called on to use both analytical and creative skills as they create the adaptation, rather than simply cutting and pasting dialogue.

What dramas or plays written by African Americans have you used?

Literature and the African American Read-In

AARI_180To be recognized as an official African American Read-In Host, it’s easy as I,2,3:

  1. Select books, poems, speeches (anything) authored by African Americans;
  2. Hold your event during the month of February; and
  3. Report results by submitting an African American Read-In Report Card.

The first step is to choose a piece written by an African American author. NCTE has a Resolution on the Need for Diverse Children’s and Young Adult Books.

The African American Read-In Toolkit provides a variety of resources to help support both individual hosts and hosting organizations implement and promote African American Read-In programs. Included in the toolkit are a number of booklists including one that was crowdsourced at an NCTE Annual Convention.

The September 2016 #NCTEchat was on the topic of Black Girls’ LiteraciesDetra Price-Dennis compiled a list of Black Girls’ Literacies Resources that were shared during #NCTEchat.

Tune in to the Text Messages podcast episode #weneeddiversebooks to hear about recently-published YA titles that celebrate diversity in a range of genres. There’s something for every reader here: comic book superheroes, Civil Rights history, love stories, humorous essays, poetry, artwork, and stories of suspense.

What titles would you add to these lists?

The 2017 African American Read-In!

“The African American Read-In (AARI) . . . is built on an ambitious yet confident premise: that a school and community reading event can be an effective way to promote diversity in children’s literature, encourage young people to read, and shine a spotlight on African American authors.”

Join over a million readers as part of the Twenty-Eighth National African American Read-In in February 2017! Learn more about what happens at a Read-In in the English Journal article “The African American Read-In: Celebrating Black Writers and Supporting Youth“. This month, look for posts marked with #AARI17.

The ReadWriteThink.org Text Messages podcast “Celebrating the African American Read-In” provides recommendations of both old and new titles by distinguished African American authors who write for teens. Featured books range from historical novels to contemporary explorations of African American life in both urban and suburban settings.

In the ReadWriteThink.org lesson “Analyzing First-Person Narration in Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind” students explore the different facets of complexity in the compelling first-person narrator in Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind.

The lesson plan “I Have a Dream: Exploring Nonviolence in Young Adult Texts” has students identify how Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of nonviolent conflict-resolution is reinterpreted in modern texts, including a text by Walter Dean Myers and rapper Common.

Childhood Remembrances: Life and Art Intersect in Nikki Giovanni’s ‘Nikki-Rosa’“, invites students to read Nikki Giovanni’s poem, “Nikki-Rosa,” and then writing about childhood memories of their own.

This lesson from ReadWriteThink.org this lesson gives students an introduction to Jacqueline Woodson’s verse memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming.

Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963 is the focus of the lesson plan “Graphing Plot and Character in a Novel“, which invites students to graph the journey of the family while exploring the plot and character development in the novel.

Nikki Giovanni’s poem “The Funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.” is paired with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, taking students on a quest through time to the civil rights movement in the lesson “Entering History: Nikki Giovanni and Martin Luther King Jr.

Listen as Myers shared how his own experiences as a reader shaped his approach to storytelling.

Tune in to a podcast interview with Nikki Grimes where her writing process and what inspires the characters in her books is shared. Also shared is her philosophy about writing for children and how her life has influenced her writing.

For more ideas, see the ReadWriteThink.org Calendar entry for the African American Read-In which includes more lesson plans, classroom activities, and online resources.

Celebrating and Supporting African American Writers: The Legacy of the African American Read-In

February #nctechatThe following post was written by Dr. Mila Thomas Fuller, deputy executive director of the National Council of Teachers of English and coordinator of the National African American Read-In.

 

Celebrating and Supporting African American Writers: The Legacy of the African American Read-In

You’re invited to contribute to conversations focused on Celebrating and Supporting African American Writers during the #NCTEchat on Sunday, February 21, 2016, at 8 p.m. Eastern on Twitter. This chat will be hosted by Mila Thomas Fuller, deputy executive director of the National Council of Teachers of English, and Michelle Rankins, NCTE/CCCC member. Both Mila and Michelle serve as local founders and hosts of community-based African American Read-In programs.

Mila hosts an African American Read-In held at a Champaign-Urbana bookstore and Michelle serves as founder and host of the Tri-C (Cuyahoga Community College) Eastern Campus’s African American Read-In.

This marks the 27th year of the National African American Read-In, which has reached over 5 million participants since its inception.  Many stakeholders have described the African American Read-In as a way to promote diversity by increasing awareness of African American authors.

While the program was originally focused on a single day, it has since been expanded to allow local hosts to choose any day(s) during the month of February to host a local event. These events can be hosted in your living room with family and friends, or they can occur as a more formal program in a public setting.

Below is a short excerpt detailing the history of the African American Read-In and the contributions made by its founder, Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott:

At its November 1989 meeting, the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English accepted the Issues Committee’s recommendation that the Black Caucus sponsor a nationwide African American Read-In on the first Sunday of February. At the request of educators, Monday was designated for educational institutions. Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott, an active member of NCTE and the Black Caucus, brought the idea to the Committee. It was envisioned that following a decade of rigorous campaigning for participants, the African American Read-Ins would become a traditional part of Black History Month celebrations. The commitment for nationwide promotion extends from 1990 to the present. In 1990, the National Council of Teachers of English joined in the sponsorship of the African American Read-In. (NCTE website)

Quote from Jerri Cobb Scott: It is important for all of us to see ourselves in books.Here is a quick sneak peek of a few of the topics that will be addressed during this chat:

  • We look forward to rich conversations around practical approaches to celebrating literacy through African American literature in K-12 classrooms and university settings. This topic offers numerous opportunities for teachable moments.
  • We will discuss the positive impact of raising awareness and celebrating African American authors. For current program hosts, we would love to hear about the impact of your local African American Read-In as it relates to teaching and student learning and/or the impact it has had within your school, university, or community setting from a programmatic perspective.
  • Then, in true fashion of an African American Read-In, we look forward to taking the time to increase awareness of works written by African American authors. We will ask you to share your favorite classic African American authors, but we would also like to learn about new African American authors you have heard about or recently read. As you share the names of authors and their works, we will begin working to compile a new booklist to add to our African American Read-In toolkit that was launched this year. This is definitely a great chat to attend, contribute to, or follow, as it will result in a digital and information-rich resource.

During this chat, we will engage in a dialogue that is sure to inform and continue to strengthen the deeply rooted legacy of the African American Read-In. If you have hosted an African American Read-In, we hope you are able to share insights on the impact of the program in your setting. If you have never hosted an African American Read-In, please join us to learn more about the program’s purpose and to prepare to host one this year! It’s not too late!

Participating in the African American Read-In remains an easy task and can be done by following these five simple steps:

  1. Identify an African American author.
  2. Select a location (living room, classroom, etc.) to host an African American Read-In.
  3. Invite friends, family, and/or community members.
  4. Celebrate and support African American authors by reading their books, sharing excerpts, and/or inviting an author to participate.
  5. Submit a short host report indicating the author(s) featured, location, date, and number of participants.

For more resources, see our African American Read-In toolkit and booklists, and see if there’s a local event near you.

Celebrate African American Writers throughout February

Plan a Read-In for your community. Visit http://www.ncte.org/aari to learn how!
Plan a Read-In for your community. Visit http://www.ncte.org/aari to learn how!

Join over a million readers as part of the Twenty-Seventh National African American Read-In in February 2016! Learn more about what happens at a Read-In in the English Journal article “The African American Read-In: Celebrating Black Writers and Supporting Youth“.

The following links can get you started and provide resources as your students read and explore the works of these African American writers.

For more ideas, see the ReadWriteThink.org Calendar entry for the African American Read-In which includes more lesson plans, classroom activities, and online resources. The ReadWriteThink.org Text Messages podcast “Celebrating the African American Read-In” provides recommendations of both old and new titles by distinguished African American authors who write for teens. Featured books range from historical novels to contemporary explorations of African American life in both urban and suburban settings.

How will you be celebrating the African American Read-In?