FREE TO READ: Challenged and banned texts

Course Title: FREE TO READ: Challenged and banned texts
Credits: 3 credits from Saint Michael’s College
Dates: October 10, 2022 – December 1, 2022
Contact Hours: 45
Intended audience: Upper middle grade and high school educators, educators interested in challenged and banned texts
Instructor: Sarah Miller, M.Ed
Cost: $1,575 with 3 credits / $900 without credits
Location: Online / Asynchronous
Registration Deadline: October 3rd

Course Description:  In this asynchronous online course, participants will read and analyze current texts for young adult readers that have been recently banned or challenged.  Most of the books selected for this course appear on the American Library Association’s Top Ten Most Challenged Books List, 2021. Course reading will address a range of genres, including historical fiction, realistic fiction, and nonfiction books that young adults read in addition to current news articles on book challenges and banning.  

It is important to note that the texts in this course contain material that includes but is not limited to discussions of race, sexuality, gender, and addiction. This course values engagement in online discussion forums.  There is an emphasis on practical applications of discussion and familiarity with current literature. Reading is a social act, and teachers will have the opportunity to engage with young adult text in a social as well as an analytical manner.

This fully online course will allow participants to understand more about texts that are being challenged around the country. They will also understand that we can provide our young readers with a range of texts and an opportunity to engage with those texts in a variety of ways. 


Learning Objectives:
As a result of active participation in this course, students will:

  • Explore reading instruction and texts for young adult students.
  • Understand the importance of current and relevant young adult literature.
  • Explore current young adult literature, including practices that better support all learners.
  • Reflect and discuss in ways that disrupt our own thinking, challenging us to grow as teachers and readers.
  • Consider the implications of accessing young adult texts in the classroom to map out a strategic plan for instructional applications.
  • Research the multiple grouping, discussion, and instructional strategies that allow teachers to provide the most responsive instruction for all students.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to develop a community of learners to support this new learning.
  • Reflect and discuss the teaching of reading/writing/assessment/CCSS shifts.
  • Engage in dialogue concerning current reading/writing policies and practices.

Required Readings: For all:

  • ELA Common Core State Standards
  • Books to include: Gender Queer, Dear Martin, Lawn Boy, Out of Darkness, Last Night at the Telegraph Club, All Boys Aren’t Blue
  • Articles/visual media: supplied by instructor

This is an online class.  It is important that all course participants make good use of the discussion forums and our virtual meetings.  Participants will develop deeper understandings of the banned or challenged young adult texts, facilitating classroom conversations, and professional learning through engaging in active discussions with each other.  Discussions will be read and monitored by the instructor, and essential points will be highlighted to further develop conversations and take-aways.

Bio: Sarah Miller M.Ed, Literacy Consultant
Sarah Miller
Sarah has worked with teachers and students in Vermont schools since 2009. Prior to that, she began her career working with K-8 Dreamers at the “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Boulder County. Since then, Sarah has taught middle school English-Language Arts and Social Studies.  She has also served as both a school and a district Literacy Instructional Coach in Chittenden County. In 2012, Sarah completed her M.Ed. at Saint Michael’s College in Reading. Across her years in education, Sarah has been focused on engaging readers and writers in meaningful ways, with access to literature and nonfiction that is relevant and accessible. She is particularly interested in supporting young people in developing robust reading and writing identities that build on their lives, interests, and passions. Sarah has worked to build vibrant literate communities in schools. Currently, Sarah is a literacy consultant with Partnerships for Literacy and Learning. She lives in Underhill, Vermont with her husband, son, daughter, two dogs, and a cat.