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.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson is a memoir, telling the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. This lesson plan asks students to read and discuss a selection of poems from Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming to explore varying views on the process of desegregation in America.
In Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, Bud goes on a journey to find himself. His journey brings him into contact with the harsh realities and struggles of the time, the Great Depression. This lesson plan invites students to read and discuss Bud, Not Buddy and the analyze the characters in preparation for a class “press conference.”
Having Our Say by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany presents a historically accurate, nonfiction account of the trials and tribulations the Delany sisters faced during their century of life. Here, students compose a multigenre paper, modeled after the Delany sisters’ autobiography that includes the autobiographical narrative essay as well as an informational nonfiction piece.
Rite of Passage by Richard Wright presents a coming-of-age story when Johnny takes to the streets where he learns about living life—the hard way. In this lesson plan, students use the elements of persuasion for a specific audience to demonstrate their understanding of this novel.
What other titles would be good to consider for the African American Read-In? Share on social media how you are celebrating using #AARI18!