Join 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.
- 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 ReadWriteThink.org lesson Entering History: Nikki Giovanni and Martin Luther King Jr. To learn more about authors with cultural backgrounds that parallel many of the lives of our students, check out Living Voices: Multicultural Poetry in the Middle School Classroom, the NCTE book that inspired the lesson plan.
- Walter Dean Myers believes that a primary cause of lack of inspiration in readers is their difficulty decoding meaning because of language and societal differences. In his article “Writing for the Uninspired Reader” he explains how he strives to reach uninspired readers, particularly those living in the inner city, by writing using their language and contexts. Listen as Myers shared how his own experiences as a reader shaped his approach to storytelling.
- Nikki Grimes stresses the power of poetry in “An Interview with Poet Nikki Grimes” from Language Arts. Listen 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.
- Langston Hughes’s poetry is explored alongside rap lyrics and jazz and blues music in the English Journal article “Culturally Responsive Teaching: The Harlem Renaissance in an Urban English Class.” Read more about Hughes in Langston Hughes in the Classroom: “Do Nothin’ till You Hear from Me”.
- Alice Walker, bell hooks, and Nikki Giovanni are all explored in “Becoming a Writerly Self: College Writers Engaging Black Feminist Essays” from College Composition and Communication, which asserts that personal essays by Black feminist writers can be used to teach writers how to connect their personal and social identities. Learn more in the NCT E text Alice Walker in the Classroom: “Living by the Word.”
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?