SUBJECT: Literature Selection and Review
- Board Directive
The policy of the Jordan School District Board of Education is to see that all students have extensive experience with quality literature. The Board is committed to involving parents in the process of selecting appropriate literature for school use, and respects the right of parents to protect their children from literature which they personally consider damaging. Therefore, the Board delegates to the District Administration responsibility for developing and administering this policy.
- Administrative Policy
The Literature Selection and Review policy shall be administered according to the following administrative policy provisions:
- Standards for Required Reading
- Literature selections which are assigned as required reading or read aloud to students in the classroom shall meet the following criteria:
- The subject matter, interest and reading level, and maturity level of the selection are appropriate for the students being taught.
- The selection is appropriate for the age, emotional development, ability level, and social development of the students being taught.
- The selection meets an appropriate instructional purpose.
- The selection will help students better understand themselves and others.
- The selection has identifiable literary or curricular merit.
- The literary selection appropriately models element (character, setting, plot, conflict, etc.), style, or genre that the student is expected to learn.
- The informational selection has identifiable curricular merit, text structures, and text features that support main idea, argument, or author’s point of view.
- Literature that students select themselves from school library media centers, public libraries, home libraries, or other sources shall not come under the provisions of this policy.
- Standards for Independent Reading
It is the responsibility of classroom teachers and their administrators to assure that reading materials available in classrooms are appropriate. Reading materials, which are stored in classrooms and available for self-selection by students and shall meet the following criteria:
- The materials shall be appropriate regarding subject matter, reading level, and maturity level as well as appropriate for the ages and interests of the students.
- The literary materials appropriately model a literary element (character, setting, plot, conflict, etc.), style, or genre.
- The informational materials appropriately model text structures and text features.
- Organization of Literature Selection and Review Committees
- Elementary Literature Selection and Review Committees
- District Elementary Literature Selection and Review Committee
- The District shall organize an Elementary Literature Selection and Review Committee. Membership shall include five teachers (one from each area) from grades 4, 5 and 6, a District elementary library media specialist, and five parents (one from each area) who are selected by the corresponding Administrator of Schools. This committee shall be chaired by the District language arts consultant.
- The committee shall meet at least four times each year for the purpose of evaluating new literature selections which are being considered as suggested reading. The committee shall periodically compile recommended reading lists for grades 4, 5, and 6.
- Each elementary school may organize a Literature Selection and Review Committee, if needed, for the purpose of selecting and reviewing literature for the classroom as requested by the principal, teachers, or parents within the school. When created, this committee membership shall include the principal, who will chair the committee, two teachers appointed by the principal, the library media specialist, and three parents appointed by the School Community Council.
- Secondary Literature Selection and Review Committees
- District Middle School and High School Literature Selection and Review Committees
- These committees shall be organized for the purpose of screening and approving the literature that is assigned as required reading in the District's secondary schools.
- The Middle School Committee membership shall include one teacher and one parent from each middle school, and one secondary library media specialist. The committees shall be chaired by the District language arts consultant and meet at least twice each year to review and approve new selections.
- The High School Committee membership shall include one teacher and one parent from each high school, and one secondary media specialist. The committee shall be chaired by the District language arts consultant and shall meet at least twice during each year to review and approve new selections.
- Teachers shall not assign any literature selection that has not had prior approval for use in the classroom. Secondary teachers who wish to teach a selection that does not appear on the current District-approved list should complete a Recommendation Form and submit it and three copies of the book, to the appropriate middle or high school District committee for review and approval. Recommendation forms are available from the District Curriculum and Staff Development Department and on the District website at http://secondarylanguagearts.jordandistrict.org/.
- Each secondary school may organize a Literature Selection and Review Committee for the purpose of recommending literature selections to the corresponding District committee. The school committee may also review and approve lists from which students may self-select literature to be read outside of the classroom as part of a class assignment. Parents/guardians should assist their students in selecting literature from lists. At the request of the principal, teachers, or parents within the school, the committee shall also review literature selections whose appropriateness is challenged and/or ask for assistance from the District Literature Selection and Review Committee. When created committee membership shall include the principal, who will chair the committee, one teacher appointed by the principal, the library media specialist, and two parents appointed by the School Community Council.
- Working in concert, the District Elementary, Middle School, and High School Committees shall articulate required literature assignments to assure that selections are offered at the appropriate age/maturity level and to see that required reading assignments are not duplicated as students move forward through the grades. The process for requesting use of a text that appears on a higher grade level list will be as follows:
- Teacher shall complete the request form that can be found on the elementary and middle school level websites.
- Teacher shall provide the book title, author and text level (guided reading level, lexile level, grade-level equivalent), reason/purpose for the request, and an explanation of how and with whom the book will be used.
- Requests will be reviewed and determinations made by the District language arts consultant, Administrators of Schools, and the Administrator of Curriculum and Staff Development, with input from the literature selection committees.
- Literature Selection and Review Process
- Elementary Committees
Literature selection for classroom material shall be conducted at the local level. The District Recommended Book List may be used to assist schools when making text selections.
- Middle School and High School Committees
- Middle School and High School Committees shall recommend literature to the corresponding District committees for approval at least six weeks prior to a scheduled meeting.
- Members of the District committees shall read selections under consideration.
- The District committees shall determine by majority vote, using the criteria established under II. A. of this policy as a guide, whether or not a given selection shall be approved.
- Challenges to Approved Literature
- Challenges to approved literature used in the classroom shall be submitted in writing to the local school committee. Forms are available at the District Office and on the District website.
- The District language arts consultant and/or principal, as chair of the committee, shall call a committee meeting to review the challenge. At least three committee members shall receive a copy of the challenge and read the selection prior to the meeting.
- The committee as a whole shall discuss the challenged selection, based on the administrative policy provisions outlined under Item II. A. of this policy and the written challenge.
- The committee shall determine by majority vote whether or not the challenged material selection shall be retained for classroom instruction.
- Decisions of the local school committees may be appealed to the corresponding District committee.
- Parents/Guardians Rights
- Parents/guardians may exempt their students from a required reading assignment if they personally find the literature objectionable.
- The student shall be provided with an alternate literature selection without penalty.