The materials below can be used by educators as useful tools in preventing and combating censorship. All of these resources are free access and do not require permission for use. Additional support is available for current NCTE members.
Guidelines for Selection of Materials in English Language Arts Programs
These guidelines present criteria and procedures that ensure thoughtful teacher selection of novels and other materials.
Guidelines for Dealing with Censorship of Instructional Materials
Focusing on materials broadly defined in classrooms and schools today, a committee of English educators updated a 2004 position statement originally detailing censorship of “nonprint” materials. This new statement bridges censorship issues across varied modalities and texts.
NCTE Beliefs about the Students’ Right to Write
During this era of high-stakes testing, technology-based instruction, and increased control over students’ expression due to school violence, students’ right to write must be protected.
The Literacy & NCTE blog maintains a repository of posts on intellectual freedom.
NCTE Position Statement Regarding Rating or “Red-Flagging” Books
This position statement explains why rating books, or ‘red-flagging,” is a form of censorship that schools should not practice.
NCTE members can access over 600 book rationales on the first-ever online rationale database. A newly updated How to Write a Rationale document is also available. This database can be searched by title, author, and grade level to help educators find a rationale for a book to use in the classroom or that is being challenged. New pieces of literature can be found to incorporate into curriculums or classroom libraries to further enrich students’ learning.
Statement on Academic Freedom
This updated statement supports the truth that it is an individual English educator’s (teacher’s, researcher’s, and librarian’s) right to translate, produce, and curate past and new knowledge and dispositions within broadly accepted disciplinary parameters in order to advance the common good.
Statement on Classroom Libraries
This statement explains why classroom libraries play a key role in providing access to books and promoting literacy. It states NCTE’s support for efforts to provide teachers with the ability to exercise their professional judgment in developing and maintaining classroom libraries.
The Students’ Right to Read
This foundational NCTE position statement gives model procedures for responding to challenges, including a citizen’s “Request for Reconsideration of a Work.”
Book Censorship Action Kit
This is a collection of materials for parents, students, educators, and authors with information on how to effectively fight challenges to books in schools.
Considerations and Guidelines for School Officials
School officials have broad discretion to establish curricula and decide what materials to include in their classrooms and libraries. However, parents, special interest groups and others sometimes attempt to impose their personal beliefs on the public school system and demand the removal of educational materials. Follow the link for some general considerations school administrators should take into account when such challenges arise.
Defend LGBTQ Stories
The freedom to read stories about people of diverse sexual and gender identities can validate and empower all youth, especially those who may identify as LGBTQ. LGBTQ representation in literature can also promote tolerance and acceptance of all human difference, including sexual and gender identities. This source offers an overview of common arguments made by would-be censors and techniques for advocating for LGBTQ stories in your schools and communities.
The Free Expression Educators Handbook
The Free Expression Educators Handbook contains practical tools and advice for managing book challenges and censorship controversies in schools and school libraries. The handbook, created by NCAC in collaboration with NCTE, is intended for teachers, librarians, and school administrators.