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Banned Books Week 2016: Let Students who Struggle to Read be a Part of the Conversation

Banned Books Week is here. Can students who struggle to read be part of the conversation? Have they read the authors whose works are banned or challenged?  If not, AIM-VA is your answer! Teachers in Virginia can find banned or challenged books at each grade level on the AIM-VA website (see list below).  Accessible books and good teaching practices boost literacy and increase chances for successful inclusion for all students. They also give students with print disabilities the chance to read what their peers read. AIM-VA will help you get all your students on the same page so that they can join in on classroom discussions.

Matters of Freedom  The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom. (OIF) promotes awareness of challenges to library materials and celebrates freedom of speech during Banned Books Week. The ALA advocates for the freedom of the public to choose books and to express opinions — "even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular." The ALA describes itself as the oldest and largest library association in the world and stresses the importance of ensuring "the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them."

A challenge to books can be a person expressing a point of view, but also involves any attempt to remove material from a curriculum or library. The ALA considers such actions to be a threat to freedom of speech and choice. More "Resources on Banned Books and Censorship” can be found on the School Library Journal website. 

Usable!  When a book in print is a barrier to learning, alternative formats are essential. Books that appear on "Banned Books" lists have been converted to formats that are accessible for students with a print disability.  A student with a learning disability (including dyslexia), a physical impairment or a visual disability may be eligible to receive alternate print formats. Find out if your student is eligible.

Finding the Books  Below is a list of 2016 banned and challenged books that have been converted into various accessible formats and are available through AIM-VA. Many of the books below are listed on the reading lists for schools in Virginia.

Elementary School

  • Hop on Pop/Dr. Seuss
  • If I Ran the Zoo/Dr. Seuss
  • The Sign of the Beaver/Elizabeth Speare
  • The Egypt Game/Zilpha Snyder

Middle School

  • Bridge to Terabithia/Katherine Patterson
  • The Giver/Lois Lowry
  • Goosebumps Series/R.L. Stine
  • Julie of the Wolves/Jean George

High School

  • 1984/George Orwell
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian/Sherman Alexie
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn/Mark Twain
  • Animal Farm/George Orwell
  • As I Lay Dying/William Faulkner
  • The Call of the Wild/Jack London
  • Catch 22/Joseph Heller
  • Summer of My German Soldier/Bette Greene
  • To Kill A Mockingbird/Harper Lee
  • Twilight Series/Stephanie Meyer
  • Fahrenheit 451/Ray Bradbury
  • The Glass Castle/Jeanette Walls
  • The Grapes of Wrath/John Steinbeck
  • The Great Gatsby/F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Harry Potter series/J.K. Rowling
  • The Hunger Games/Susanne Collins
  • I Am the Cheese/Robert Cormier
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings/Maya Angelou
  • The Kite Runner/Khaled Hosseini
  • The Lord of the Flies/William Golding
  • Of Mice and Men/John Steinbeck
  • Persepolis/Marjane Satrapi

We Are AIM-VA   For more information about accessible instructional materials (AIM) in Virginia, visit the AIM-VA home page. In other states, contact a special education teacher or school administrator to learn about eligibility and mention the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Follow AIM-VA on Facebook Pinterest , and Twitter at @AIMVirginia. Subscribe to AIM-VA's new monthly newsletter. Sign up here.