The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has officially launched “This Story Matters”, a campaign that includes a new online database which contains over six hundred book rationales highlighting plot summaries, teaching objectives, grade-level suggestions, alternative book titles, and more, all designed to help support educators when they are challenged in adopting new books into their curriculum. While NCTE has always shared rationales with members, this is the first time that the book rationales will be available digitally and to a broader audience. PRH Education supported the digitization effort in the form of a $10,000 grant.
As concerns around censorship continue to grow, teachers need the freedom to support the right to read so their students can make informed decisions and be valuable contributors to our world. When censorship claims have been filed, or when the competence of a teacher is questioned, book rationales serve to document and confirm why a book was selected for classroom use. The rationale template itself, on which all the rationales are based, was recently updated by the NCTE Standing Committee Against Censorship. The online database is available to all NCTE members and will be a substantial support for teachers to rely on when they return to school this fall.
NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick said of the grant, “We thank our partner Penguin Random House Education for demonstrating their ongoing commitment to educators and for their support of freedom of expression for writers, creators, and artists.”
PRH Education VP of Sales and Marketing, Michael Gentile, added “We are proud to support NCTE in the creation of this new and crucial resource for educators built to connect young readers with the creative work of our authors and emphasize the power of literacy.”
It is essential that more rationales be written, which is NCTE’s call to action with the launch of “This Story Matters”. With so many concerns around censorship, this initiative also offers an opportunity to invite members to write rationales to add to the database and directly support other teachers.