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NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center - Previous Revision

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 these years the Council has voiced its opposition to censorship and promoted intellectual freedom as portrayed in this video clip from the NCTE Centennial Film.

Facing A Challenge?

CensorshipNCTE offers advice, helpful documents, and other support to teachers faced with challenges to texts (e.g. literary works, films and videos, drama productions) or teaching methods used in their classrooms and schools. 

Use the online "Report A Censorship Incident Form" to report an incident, or call Millie Davis, NCTE Senior Developer, Affiliated Groups and Public Outreach, directly at 800-369-6283, ext. 3634.

Five Most Helpful Resources

The materials below have been identified by teachers as most useful in preventing and combating censorship. 

Students' Right to Read
Gives model procedures for responding to challenges, including "Citizen's Request for Reconsideration of a Work."

Guidelines for Selection of Materials in English Language Arts Programs
Presents criteria and procedures that ensure thoughtful teacher selection of novels and other materials.

Rationales for Teaching Challenged Books
Rational for Challenged BooksRationals for Challenged BooksRich resource section included table of contents of NCTE's Rationales for Commonly Challenged Books CD-ROM, an alphabetical list of other rationales on file, the SLATE Starter Sheet on "How to Write a Rationale," and sample rationales for Bridge to Terabithia and The Color Purple.

Guidelines for Dealing with Censorship of Nonprint Materials
Offers principles and practices regarding nonprint materials.

Defining and Defending Instructional Methods
Gives rationales for various English language arts teaching methods and other defenses against common challenges to them.

Authors Speak Out on Censorship

Sherman Alexie tells us "Why the Best Kids Books Are Written in Blood"

Isabel Allende writes a letter to defend her book The House of the Spirits

Judy Blume has some "Good Words" to share.

Chris Crutcher tells us "How They Do It"

Read more . . .  

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NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts