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Making Connections to AARI Books, Week 1

Each year during Black History Month, the National Council of the Teachers of English kicks off the African American Read-In. This program takes place in K–12 schools, preschools, communities, and colleges around the country. It’s a great time to share the love of reading diverse literature with students.

The following recommendations on books to share during this month and a few ideas for how these texts can be used in our classrooms come from NCTE, its members, and friends.

In After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson, Woodson cycles backward through the events that lead to dual tragedies: a friend’s departure and a hero’s death. Listen to this podcast episode where you’ll hear about fiction and nonfiction books that explore the importance of music in the lives of young people.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley tells the life story of Malcolm X. Using this activity, invite student to write about the origin of their name and explore the names that Malcolm X used during this life.

The Battle of Jericho, one of the books in a trilogy by Sharon Draper, captures the essence of teens caught up in peer pressure who must ultimately live with the results of their actions. The activity encourages students to read a book from one of Draper’s trilogies and then meet to discuss their book with students have read the other two books.

“Fences” is part of August Wilson’s “Pittsburg Cycle,” a collection of ten plays. Each drama explores a different decade in the 20th century, and each examines the lives and struggles of African-Americans. Here, using online tools, students create a decade-by-decade record and play of their community’s history.

What other titles would be good to consider for the African American Read-In? Share on social media how you are celebrating using #AARI18!