June 2019 #NCTEchat: Leveraging Summer Reading for the Good of Ourselves and Our Students - National Council of Teachers of English
Back to Blog

June 2019 #NCTEchat: Leveraging Summer Reading for the Good of Ourselves and Our Students

Join us this Sunday, June 16, for an #NCTEchat about summer reading with hosts Susan Barber and Joel Garza.


Most of us grew up reading whatever we wanted—celebrity biographies, adventure stories, random volumes of our family encyclopedia, you name it. As college students and beginning teachers, though, our departments usually had narrowed down the reading list before we arrived. On campus, we got good at reading and teaching whatever we were given. Many of us developed, as a result, two kinds of reading modes: school mode and me mode, the stuff assigned and the stuff we loved. This chat is about reading deliberately in both modes, about bringing together what we and our students love to read, and how we and our students can grow what we read.

This chat is inspired by Rudine Sims Bishop’s idea of Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Doors:

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.”

This frame offers the perfect summer inspiration and challenge—find what speaks to you, find what is new to you, and do something about it.

We hope that this chat is a chance to share and build our To-Be-Read pile deliberately, for our own good, for the good of our students, and for the good of our campus communities. See you Sunday night, June 16 at 8:00 p.m. EST for #NCTEchat!


The following questions will be shared during our Twitter chat, after introductions:

Warmup: What do you do to refresh/recharge/renew over the summer? #NCTEchat

Q1. Summer is a great time to shake things up and read outside our comfort zones. In what ways are you thinking about interrogating your reading habits / biases? Share any approaches you’ve taken to inspire your students and colleagues to do the same. #NCTEchat [8:10 p.m.]

Q2. What books have you read or are you planning to read that may serve as a call to action for you personally or pedagogically? #NCTEchat [8:20 p.m.]

Q3. Which books have you read or are you planning to read that provide a window to an experience unlike your own or unlike your students’? #NCTEchat [8:30 p.m.]

Q4. Words like intersectionality, antiracism, or gender fluidity can open us up to new ways of thinking and understanding. What’s a book you plan to read or would recommend to others in exploring new ideas? #NCTEchat [8:40 p.m.]
(Thanks to this @mochamomma tweet for inspiring this Q)

Q5. What are your favorite resources related to summer reading and how will you share these with others? #NCTEchat [8:50 p.m.]


We hope to see you there! Be sure to join us by using #NCTEchat.

Never participated in a Twitter chat before? Check out this guide to help you get started.


About the hosts:

Susan Barber fills her days teaching AP Lit and instructional coaching at Grady High School in the heart of Atlanta. She is the editor for APLitHelp.com, a website celebrating the work of English teachers, and also rambles about life in general on her personal blog, susangbarber.com. In addition, Susan is both a contributor to Best Lesson Series books and a founding member of #TeachLivingPoets. Her passion is to invest in the next generation and encourage teachers. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @susangbarber.

Joel Garza called roll for the first time at El Centro Community College in the fall of 1993. Currently, he is chair of the Upper School English department at Greenhill School in Addison, Texas, and on the board of Deep Vellum Publishing. The best PD of his career has been via social media, where he has grown immensely thanks to #31daysIBPOC, #aplitchat, #DisruptTexts, and #TeachLivingPoets. With Scott Bayer, he co-founded and co-hosts #THEBOOKCHAT, a chat devoted to having brave conversations about marginalized voices and devoted to curating classroom-ready online resources for teachers eager to read deliberately. Here’s what he’s reading, and here’s where he tweets.