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Adventurous Thinking

Fostering Students' Rights to Read and Write in Secondary ELA Classrooms

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Grounded in NCTE’s position statements “The Students’ Right to Read” and “NCTE Beliefs about the Students’ Right to Write,” this book focuses on high school English language arts classes, drawing from the work of seven teachers from across the country to illustrate how advocating for students’ rights to read and write can be revolutionary work.

Drawing from the work of high school teachers across the country, Adventurous Thinking illustrates how advocating for students’ rights to read and write can be revolutionary work. Ours is a conflicted time: the #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo movements, for instance, run parallel with increasingly hostile attitudes toward immigrants and prescriptive K–12 curricula, including calls to censor texts. Teachers who fight to give their students the tools and opportunities to read about and write on topics of their choice and express ideas that may be controversial are, in editor Mollie V. Blackburn’s words, “revolutionary artists, and their teaching is revolutionary art.” The teacher chapters focus on high school English language arts classes that engaged with topics such as immigration, linguistic diversity, religious diversity, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, interrogating privilege, LGBTQ people, and people with physical disabilities and mental illness. Following these accounts is an interview with Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, and an essay by Millie Davis, former director of NCTE’s Intellectual Freedom Center. The closing essay reflects on provocative curriculum and pedagogy, criticality, community, and connections, as they get taken up in the book and might get taken up in the classrooms of readers. The book is grounded in foundational principles from NCTE’s position statements The Students’ Right to Read and NCTE Beliefs about the Students’ Right to Write that underlie these contributors’ practices, principles that add up to one committed declaration: Literacy is every student’s right.

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