Book Rationale

YOU ARE ABLE TO CHOOSE ANY BOOK AT A FOURTH GRADE READING LEVEL AND WRITE UP A RATIONALE ABOUT IT. The instructions of how to write up a rationale are in the folder listed as well as a sample of what a rationale is.

One of the ways that educational professionals can address or even head-off some challenges to materials is to prepare rationale statements. Such statements identify the educational purposes of including the materials in the school library or curriculum. They also identify alternative materials that could be used in the event that a parent / guardian objects to his/her student reading, seeing, or listening to a particular title.

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Book rationales, as described and modeled by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) include prescribed parts and respond to particular aspects of works in an effort to make the educational purpose for the work clear and understandable, even to someone who has not read/seen the work before. In some cases, the challenge is based on some particular section, passage, or scene, taken out of context and challenged on the basis of language use or an interpretation of the work’s “morality.” Rationale statements tend to present the work in a more inclusive – holistic way. They do not focus on a specific passage or word usage, although the statement may seek to place potentially objectionable areas in the context of the entire work.

As educators, knowledge of book rationale statements, their content, structure, and purposes provides a useful tool in preparing for and responding to challenges.

Often, the school librarians and the English language arts teachers are on the front line of challenged materials. With this in mind, you will write one book rationale for one work which may be or have been challenged in schools and / or school libraries. The titles must be approved by the instructor before moving ahead with this project.

Follow the guidelines and models provided by the NCTE on their web site. If you search “book rationale,” the results will include the “how to” sheet with instructions and suggestions for writing effective book rationales. The results will also include an example or two of book rationales prepared by educators for use in schools. Read through the examples as they will help you formulate your own book rationale statement.

While there is not a required length for these statements, the documents are required to be careful, thoughtful, and thorough. Therefore, they may also be several pages long.

Keep in mind that these statements will be shared with the other members of this course. Each member is required to write one rationale statement. Everyone will leave this course with several complete book rationale statements to keep on file for future reference.

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