This book illustrates how middle level English language arts teachers can draw upon young adult literature to facilitate students’ understanding of issues of oppression and allow them opportunities for social action. Each chapter centers on one novel that represents a contemporary topic including the refugee crisis, Indigenous rights, trauma, and bullying. In each, authors provide pre-, during-, and after reading strategies for teaching that connect the social issues in the texts to students’ lives and to the world around them. Research, writing, and digital literacies are emphasized throughout. Authors also include topics for teaching at the intersections of the focal topic with other areas of social justice. Finally, they provide a multitude of avenues for student action, emphasizing the need to move readers from understanding and awareness to asserting their own agency and capacities to effect change in their local, national, and global communities. Additional resources are also included as extensions, such as documentaries, young adult literature companions for study, connected music, and supplementary lesson plans.
Ashley S. Boyd is an associate professor of English Education at Washington State University where she teaches courses on English methods, young adult literature, and critical theories and anti-oppressive pedagogies.
Janine J. Darragh is associate professor of literacy and English as a new language at the University of Idaho where she teaches courses in young adult literature, teaching students who are culturally and linguistically diverse, and secondary English teacher preparation.
2. Social Class Disparities in the United States
5. Indigenous Rights
6. Sexual Orientation and Stigma
7. Access and Disabilities
8. Black Lives Matter
9. Foster Care and Stigma
10. Experiences of Immigrants
About the Authors
Boyd and Darragh's follow-up to Reading for Action targets teachers of middle-level students who wish to encourage children of this age to be socially aware and culturally responsive by implementing age-appropriate young adult literature. The text focuses on ten contemporary social issues identified by professional educational organizations. Each chapter is devoted to a different issue, and chapters are paired with specific novels written for middle-level readers. Chapters provide before, during, and after reading strategies as well as ideas for extending learning through student-determined social action projects. Chapters end with timely lists of references, supplemental resources, and connected media related to the identified social issue. Two of the most impressive chapters are "Indigenous Rights" (chapter 5) and "Black Lives Matter" (chapter 8). This text should be required reading in undergraduate English teacher prep courses of study and for both new and experienced teachers who work with middle-grade students. Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates and professionals.
Ongoing social justice crises can leave our middle schoolers sad, stressed out, frustrated, not knowing where to turn or what to do or how to even take the first step. Yet as teachers of young adult literature, we know that books change lives! High-interest literature can respond to apathy and immobility by informing, providing reflective space, and emboldening young people toward transformative action. Focusing on current social issues, Boyd and Darragh provide well-researched, accessible ideas for teachers, suggesting relevant young adult books, activities, and ways for students to advocate for change. Teachers can implement the ideas in Reading for Justice today, making it possible for students to be the very change they wish to see in the world.
Reading for Justice is a thoughtful, valuable, and comprehensive resource that deserves a treasured place on every educator’s shelf. Teachers and librarians will discover a multitude of thoughtful suggestions on scaffolding, planning and guiding engaging discussions, as well as a plethora of practical ideas and hands-on activities/ prompts to inspire young people to pursue their own projects. Each chapter begins with background information and facts that relate to a social justice issue of current relevance. Boyd and Darragh then focus on an acclaimed, award-winning piece of fiction, and show how the captivating story, while holding students spellbound, can also allow them to develop and hone critical thinking, language and other academic skills. In addition they outline simple, powerful and effective strategies to empower students and deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of social justice issues.
Enough said about this important work. Now, get started reading Reading for Justice!
This important book arrives at a critical time in our nation’s history. When protesters are flooding school board meetings and calling to ban books that center LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC characters and authors, Boyd and Darragh offer hope through practical strategies for teachers to engage their students in critical reading and social action. Focusing each chapter on a critical social issue and a diverse young adult book that addresses it, the authors guide readers through teaching strategies for before, during, and after reading. These practices and recommended texts address issues affecting students in classrooms everywhere—issues such as trauma, bullying, Black Lives Matter, and the refugee crisis—and provide strategies and projects that bring awareness, encourage empathy, and promote activism. Reading for Justice is a book every teacher needs in their professional library!