Intellectual Freedom Center
All students have the right to materials and educational experiences that promote open inquiry, critical thinking, diversity in thought and expression, and respect for others.
Banned Books Week
NCTE’s Support for the Students’ Right to Read
NCTE Actively Began Fighting Censorship in the 1950’s
McCarthyism spurred NCTE to take a more active stance against censorship and in 1953, NCTE’s Committee on Censorship of Teaching Materials published Censorship and Controversy, condemning McCarthy’s tactics and championing freedom of thought. In 1962 NCTE published its seminal intellectual freedom guideline: The Students’ Right to Read leading up to today’s active Anti-Censorship program which works with 60-100 educators and school districts a year on challenges to texts used in classrooms.
Over the years the Council has voiced its opposition to censorship and promoted intellectual freedom as portrayed in this video clip from the NCTE Centennial Film.
Take part in Banned Books Week, September 24-September 30, 2017
This year’s celebration of the freedom to read will celebrate Young Adult books!
“Young Adult books are challenged more frequently than any other type of book. These books are the books that speak most immediately to young people, dealing with many of the difficult issues that arise in their own lives, or in the lives of their friends. These are the books that give young readers the ability to safely explore the sometimes scary real world. This Banned Books Week is a call to action, to remind everyone that young people need to be allowed the freedom to read widely, to read books that are relevant for them, and to be able to make their own reading choices,” says Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee.
NCTE is a co-sponsor of this year’s celebration and invites its members to:
- Protect the Students’ Right to Read.
- Talk to students about how the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution protects everyone’s right to read and how censorship denies that right.
- Celebrate their favorite banned books (and encourage their students to do so as well) by joining the Virtual Read-Out!
- Create videos that will be featured on a dedicated YouTube channel. Follow this criteria and use this form to submit your videos.
- See the archive of the Sept. 22, 2013, #nctechat Twitter chat on #Banned Books Week with Teri Lesesne and Laurie Halse Anderson.
Watch as 2013 NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award winner Judy Blume talks about the right to read.
For decades, NCTE has worked with schools and educators on challenges to literary works, films and videos, drama productions, and other texts. Since 2004, NCTE has given advice, shared helpful documents, written letters of support, and/or testified in over 250 challenges to texts. Check the list of challenged books NCTE has handled over the last nine years. If you’re undergoing a challenge, please consult the NCTE Anti-Censorship Center to contact NCTE.