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Issue Theme: Reading for Justice
Too often, students are taught to see reading in the narrowest sense, as an exercise in putting one word after the next and being ready to parrot back. Real reading is a conversation: We get excited, disgusted, confused, inspired—full of ideas and feelings we want to share. This issue of Rethinking Schools highlights approaches and resources for encouraging students toward deep involvement and critical thinking about literature.
by Özlem Sensoy and Elizabeth Marshall
In the years since 9/11, books like The Breadwinner and Broken Moon have become staples in many English classes. But does this young adult literature about Muslim girls build understanding or reinforce stereotypes?
Baghdad Burning Heats Up World History
By Jody Sokolower
It’s always a struggle to work current events into history classes. A blog by a young Iraqi woman about her day-to-day life in Baghdad provides an opportunity to connect the medieval Abbasid Empire to today’s news.
Reading by the Numbers
By Susan Straight
Does Accelerated Reading really promote a love of literature, or just a love of points? Harry Potter scores 44; Hamlet gets 7.
Beyond the Medal: Representations of Disability in Caldecott Winners
By Chloë Myers-Hughes and Hank Bersani Jr.
We often think of Caldecott books as the gold standard for picture books. Here the authors of "10 Quick Ways to Analyze Children's Books for Ableism" look at what these prize-winning books tell young children about disability.
Adding Salt to "Class" Literature: Barbara O'Connor's Books for Young Readers
By Stephanie Jones
Chapter books that portray working-class lives with sensitivity, humor, and respect.
By the Editors of Rethinking Schools
We are now in the ninth year of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the seventh year of the current war in Iraq. In classrooms throughout the United States, as in the streets, there is little critical discussion of these events—they have become part of the wallpaper of life. Why has this happened? How can we break the silence?
"I Thought This U.S. Place Was Supposed To Be About Freedom": Young Latinas Engage in Mathematics and Social Change to Save Their School
By Maura Varley Gutiérrez
A 5th-grade math club contributes skills and determination to a community struggle to keep their school open.
Balance of Powers
By Tess Brown
Good teaching has a balance of powers: gut, heart, and brain.
Testing Kindergarten: Young Children Produce Data—Lots of Data
By Kelly McMahon
You may not believe how many tests kindergartners take—and what they are missing as a result.
Portland to Palestine: A Student-to-Student Project Evokes Empathy and Curiosity
By Ken Gadbow
U.S. students talk directly with Palestinian youth and learn what it is like to live in a war zone.
Kalamazoo's Promise: What Happens When All Students Are Guaranteed College
By Stephanie Evergreen
An exciting scholarship exposes racial tensions in a Michigan city.
By Mike Rose
Reviewed by William Ayers
By Herb Kohl