Tag Archives: Equality

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?

Students’ Right to Their Own Language

"We need to ask ourselves whether the rejection of students who do not adopt the dialect most familiar to us is based on any real merit in our dialect or whether we are actually rejecting the students themselves, rejecting them because of their racial, social, and cultural origins." - Students' Right to Their Own Language, Conference on College Composition and Communication

In 1974 the Conference on College Composition and Communication first adopted a statement affirming students’ right to “their own patterns and varieties of language—the dialects of their nurture or whatever dialects in which they find their own identity and style.”

Since that time this statement has gone through revisions, and related statements have been developed. If students’ right to their own language is challenged where you teach, consider sharing these resources with your colleagues and system leaders.

#NCTEchat 3.15.15 at 8pm ET: Advocate for Literacy


Q1: What are the organizational conditions that support powerful literacy learning for which we need to advocate? #NCTEchat

Learn: Read more on the Literacy in Learning Exchange.
Act: Add your thoughts to this Ideascale project.

Q2: When we advocate for literacy, whom do we want to persuade to take action? #NCTEchat

Learn: Review these tips for sharing your views with policy makers.
Act: Reach out to your local, state, or federal lawmakers.

Q3: What kinds of advocacy are you doing from which others committed to powerful literacy education could learn? #NCTEchat

Learn: Advocacy looks like lots of things, check out some strategies here.
Act: Share your stories about assessment, we’ll make sure they’re heard!

Q4: What could @NCTE and @NCLE do to support your advocacy for literacy education? #NCTEchat

Learn: Read the 2015 NCTE Education Policy Platform.
Act: Share your suggestions in the comment box below.

Q5: What’s one thing you could commit to do during @NCTE Advocacy Month to advocate for literacy? #NCTEchat

Learn: Check out our advocacy pages on the NCTE website.
Act: We’ve got a whole calendar full of suggestions!

Read-Ins and Democracy

AARI_180The African American Read-In has been around for 25 years and over those years more than 5 million participants have taken part in events across the country that celebrate the work of African American authors. But as David Kirkland explains in this video, the Read-In is so much more than a simple celebration of books.

“The Read-In is beginning to add more voices into the conversation. . . . It’s taking the idea of democracy and it’s living it.”


Celebrate African American Writers throughout February

AARI_180Join over a million readers as part of the Twenty-Sixth National African American Read-In in February 2015! The Read-In is sponsored by the Black Caucus of NCTE and NCTE. Throughout February, schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, community and professional organizations, and interested citizens are urged to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month by hosting and coordinating Read-Ins in their communities. Hosting a Read-In can be as simple as bringing together friends to share a book, or as elaborate as arranging public readings and media presentations that feature professional African American writers

The first event was scheduled for a single Sunday afternoon in February, now it happens across the country all month long. You can learn more about how to start a read in here. And you can find a list of examples of how others have done Read-Ins here. Listen to an interview with AARI founder Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott, NCTE Deputy Executive Director Mila Fuller, and NCTE member Jennifer Watson as they talk about the 25th National African American Read-In: “A Opportunity to Expand Perspectives.”

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” by 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?