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Friday, September 28, 2012

Banned Books: The Forbidden Fruit

It’s that time again!  It’s time to celebrate 30 years of liberating literature.   September 30th – October 6th is Banned Books Week.  Learning out the forbidden fruit can be a great way to get kid's involved in reading and critical thinking.  Last year’s blog featured the resources to get students to locate books banned in their area in the last year using this Google Map and the list of banned books found on the ALA site. 

 Book Banning ripped from the headlines
Book banning is not just something that occurred in history or in totalitarian countries.  Just last week there was another news story about a book banning in Pennsylvania!  This story with some great quotes from students and ties to the First Amendment would make a great “ripped from the headlines” lesson.   Talk about your timely current events!

The Banned Books Week site has links for teacher resources and lots of information including lists by year. It is surprising to see so many of the books that I was required to read listed as books that were challenged.  I bet your students would find that they too have read banned books (since the Harry Potter Series and Hunger Games Series are on the lists).  Do they think that books should be banned?  What are the issues?

TregoED is offering a free SCAN lesson for Banned Books Week called “Banning Books – Do you agree?”
Here’s the scenario:

Since the release of the Twilight, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games series, there has been a lot of controversy in your town. A group of influential families has campaigned to have these, as well as a list of other books, banned from school libraries. It seems these parents object to the values represented in certain books, and do not want their children exposed to controversial or inappropriate topics. As taxpayers, these parents feel they have the right to say what is appropriate for their children to read in school. They have threatened legal action against the district if the books are not removed from the library. Students, media specialists, parents, and school officials all have different points of view on the subject. What action can they take to resolve the issues? 

Students are given some information from the perspective they choose to represent and work together to decide what should be done.  You simply register, log in and set up the free discussion platform for your students. (New to SCAN check out this 3 minute video)  No student registration or emails required.
There are lots of other great ideas to get your students thinking about the freedom to read.  Have them check out the videos on the Youtube Banned Books Week Channel and contribute their own.  

Banned books week is another opportunity to get kids to think critically, write persuasively and learn to appreciate the freedom to read!

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