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ReadWriteThinkConnections:English Journal Vol. 107, No. 1 (September 2017)

ReadWriteThink, created by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Literacy Association (ILA), provides free instructional practices and digital resources that support effective reading and language arts instruction for all learners. Each issue of English Journal includes connections to ReadWriteThink lesson plans and other resources.                                          

—Lisa Storm Fink

Theme: Multicultural and Multivoiced Stories for Adolescents

Saying What We Don’t Mean
In this lesson plan, students analyze the concepts of identity, stereotyping, and discrimination by reading picture books; identifying how these concepts are dealt with in each book; and discussing concrete actions to stop discrimination.

Launching Lessons: Framing Our Approach to Multicultural, Multivoiced YA Literature
Incorporating literature from diverse cultures and with diverse points of view means more than adding new books to the reading list. As described in this lesson, exposing students to literature from and about the Middle East requires particular sensitivity, as students may approach the text with incorrect, often negative, prejudices. This lesson supports the use of multicultural literature through modification of traditional literature circle roles using a cultural response perspective. Students read and share their responses and research in collaborative groups. At the end of the lesson, they write a letter about their book’s main character as if the character has just moved to their school and community. 

A Postcolonial Primer with Multicultural YA Literature
In this podcast episode, the host discusses the graphic novel American Born Chinese as well as five other recommended titles by a diverse array of authors. Each book explores characters who struggle to know when to stay true to themselves in the face of a challenging situation—or when to compromise, change, and grow.

Connecting across Borders by Reading without Walls: Using Non-Prose Narratives to Multiply Multicultural Class Content
Teen book awards provide an annual guide for readers in search of quality young adult literature reading recommendations. In this podcast episode, the host introduces some of her personal favorites. Tune in to hear about coming-of-age novels, works of original historical research, and tributes to the pleasures of cooking, the power of graphic design, and the comforts of poetry. Books featured in this episode include The Living by Matt de la Peña (Delacorte, 2013), Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang (First Second, 2013), and March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf, 2013).

Using LGBTQ Graphic Novels to Dispel Myths about Gender and Sexuality in ELA Classrooms
Teen sexuality is a taboo subject, but teens want and need books that talk to them in clear and respectful language about sex. Tune in to this podcast episode to hear about an array of nonfiction books on teen sexuality—some about the mechanics of sex, some about the media and body image, some written by teens themselves. You’ll hear about books for older as well as younger readers, boys as well as girls, gay teens as well as those who are straight or questioning. Through them, teens and adults will find a place to get their questions answered, along with the opportunity to talk and think about sex in healthy and personally empowering ways.

Aesthetic Readings of Diverse Global Literary Narratives for Social Justice
Even though we live in a global society, many teens in the United States don’t get a lot of exposure to other countries and cultures. As a result, we tend to see and judge the world through the prism of our own culture. Reading international books will challenge teens to complicate and deepen their worldview. In this podcast episode, you’ll hear about books in a range of genres that give teens insight into the social and political conditions young people face around the globe. Together they offer a sustained look at war, poverty, and the struggle for human rights, but they also speak volumes about ordinary people and their capacity for hope and resilience.

Using Moon at Nine to Broaden Multicultural Perspectives
The article highlighted the use of an Anticipation Guide. When teaching fiction, generate a list of compelling or controversial thematic or topic-based statements that relate to key ideas of the short story, novel, or play students are about to read. List those statements in the left- and column and ask students to rate their level of agreement for each. Then have students explain why they chose their level of agreement by writing a short rationale. Explain to students that they should be thinking about these compelling thematic or topic-based statements as they read. After they have read, pass back the guide and ask students to reflect on their current thinking. Have students write reflective statements that indicate how their attitudes or opinions have changed and facilitate small-or large-group discussions to explore those dynamics.



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