Everyone has the right to choose what to read. In celebrating that right, you can help bring new perspectives and more understanding, empathy, and joy to readers in your community.
These resources highlight why it is important to give kids choice in what they read, what you can do to support and protect their right to choose books from all viewpoints, and how you can help them access relatable, enjoyable reading materials.
You’ll also find ways to celebrate our freedom to read and get students excited about taking advantage of this fundamental right.
Celebrate the Freedom to Read
Give Students Choice
There is no real freedom to read without easy access to books and opportunities to read what you want. When students are given choice in what they read, as well as support and time to read, they thrive.
Students are more likely to enjoy books they choose themselves. Provide students with access to a collection of quality reading material from all different genres that is organized and enticing to readers. This could be your classroom library or school library or introduce students to your public library and encourage or arrange regular visits to check out books.
Kids can be especially motivated to read when the books they choose are books they can keep as their own. Book drives, and organizations like First Book and Reading Is Fundamental can help provide students with new books for personal ownership. Need help finding books to put into the hands of readers? Check out these resources to help you bring free print and online books to qualifying schools and students.
Prioritize Time to Read for Students
To take advantage of the freedom to read, time for reading has to be prioritized. Students need time to read every day in order to progress as readers. Giving students the time to read something that they choose and at their own pace not only gets kids excited about reading, it also helps them build confidence in their reading abilities and encourages them to read more. It can also improve vocabulary, increase comprehension and knowledge, and support development of analytical and critical-thinking skills. If the goal is to develop lifelong readers who revel in their freedom to read, kids of all ages should have time in class to read what they want to read.
- The Power of Choice and Time by Beth Jarzabek
- NCTE’s Statement on Independent Reading
- Supporting the Joy & Power of Reading: A Practitioner’s Guide from Scholastic
Find Books to Celebrate and Support the Freedom to Read
Books by Theme
Read Across America Recommendations—Find Your Book
Books About Fighting for the Freedom to Read
Challenged Books Recommended by NEA's Read Across America
NCTE’s position statement on Students’ Right to Read
The Case for Children’s Rights to Read from the International Literacy Association
Creating an Anti-Bias Library from Social Justice Books
Centering Student Voice and Choice: A Book Club Guide from Facing History & Ourselves
12 Strategies for Creating Inclusive Literacy Celebrations for ELLs from Colorin Colorado
Understanding the First Amendment: A Guide for Teachers and Librarians from Random House Teachers & Librarians
Responding to Book Challenges: A Handbook for Educators created by the National Coalition Against Censorship in collaboration with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
Defending Intellectual Freedom: LGBTQ+ Materials in School Libraries (PDF) from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
Teaching for Change’s Freedom Reads: Anti-Bias Book Talk video series
Why Your Kid Should Read Banned Books from Common Sense Media
Unite Against Book Bans, an Initiative of the American Library Association, offers an Action Toolkit to help unite voices in support of the freedom to read in your community
Kids’ Right to Read Action Kit from the National Coalition Against Censorship
Stand with School Librarians
School Librarians stand up for the Freedom to Read because, for them, it's about the students the books represent.
Stand with them because they stand for our students.