NCTE's Support for the Students' Right to Read
NCTE 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. 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.
Advocate for Intellectual Freedom this Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week is September 27-October 3, 2015! This year's celebration of the freedom to read defends young adult literature.
“Young Adult books are challenged more frequently than any other type of book,” said Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee. “These 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.”
NCTE, a co-sponsor of this year's celebration, invites you to
- 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. Check out these resources for teachers at BannedBooksWeek.org and ReadWriteThink.org.
Experience Banned Books Week Advocacy from Years Past