Monday, July 28, 2008

Topic: Censorship

10-Second Review: Preparing for censorship challenges.

Quote: "The trouble with censorship is that once it starts, it is hard to stop. Just about every book contains something that someone objects to.” –Studs Terkel. US News & World Report, 1982. Quoted in The Writer (August 2008), p. 9. The Writer is a magazine by writers for writers. Its goal is to encourage writers not to quit trying.

Comment: Be prepared for possible censorship incidents. Do your homework. Complete the following information BEFORE assigning a book to read with your classes. [My thanks to the National Council of Teachers of English]:

1. A brief summary of the book.

2. A brief description of the controversial parts of the book.

3. Appropriate grade and maturity level of the students who will be reading the book.

4. A detailed plot summary.

5. Values of the book to the students who read it.

6. Literary qualities of the book.

7. Objectives in using the book.

8. Teaching methods to be used in reading the book.

9. Assignments to be completed by the students while reading the book.

10. Possible objections to the book.

11. Professional educators’ opinions about the values of reading the book.

Thanks to

Thinking through this information about the book should prepare you for possible censorship challenges. It will also make certain that this is the right book for your particular group of students.

Also in place should be a questionnaire to be completed by a challenger and a committee that discusses and renders a decision on the future of the book in the curriculum.

The purpose of this blog is to share interesting ideas I have found in recent American professional publications dealing with the teaching of English at all levels, elementary, secondary and college.

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