Get Involved: Ideas for Educators

Freedom to Read Week provides an opportunity for Canadians to focus on issues of intellectual freedom as they affect your community, your province, our country, and countries around the world. Whether you are a librarian, bookseller, educator, student, or member of the community, there are lots of ways you can help mark this annual event.

Each year, the Freedom to Read Kit includes a Get Involved section that provides activities designed for classroom instruction and discussion. Get Involved is also intended for citizens outside the classroom who wish to plan community events. This section includes ideas for publicizing challenged books and magazines in Canada, organizing events that draw attention to freedom of expression and generating publicity for local events.

How You Can Observe Freedom to Read Week

We encourage you to use these ideas to Get Involved during Freedom to Read Week and all year round. We sincerely hope your efforts have an impact in your classroom and your community.

Start a Banned-Book Club

Select a book that has been challenged, and make censorship the focus of your group discussion. For a list of challenged books and magazines, go to the Censorship in Canada section. This list includes details on when and why each book or magazine was challenged. Recommended titles that have been discussed in book clubs include […]

Share Your Experiences

Use the Case Study Form the to let us know about challenges to any books in your library, school, or community. Be sure to inform local media of the details of the event.

Use a Quiz

Create your own quiz based on the information on challenged books and historic events contained in the Freedom to Read Kit. Have a Daily Trivia Contest. Display a trivia question related to challenged books on a chalk board or bulletin board. Have a different question every day. Try the Annual Freedom to Read Quiz or […]

Contact the Media

If your school newspaper reviews books or your library provides a book review column in the local newspaper, during Freedom to Read Week review famous banned or challenged books. Write a press release announcing Freedom to Read Week and send it to local newspapers and radio and television stations. Here’s a sample press release. Arrange […]

Distribute Publications

Distribute copies of the Challenged Works List. Highlight books in your own collection in information you distribute on intellectual freedom, Canadian banned or challenged books, prison literature by censored writers, prize-winning challenged books, controversial children’s materials, or similar topics. Place the lists in local bookstores, schools, and libraries.

Set Up Displays – Use Our Poster

Set an “I read banned books” reading goal in your school or public library. Fill a display area with banned or challenged books from its collection and videos made from challenged books. Insert a brightly coloured paper marker in each item, and set up a thermometer graph. As materials circulate, collect and count the markers, […]

Use Our Clip-Art

Photocopy the clip-art included in the Freedom to Read Kit to make “shelf-talkers” (cards to insert between books on the shelves in your school or public library or bookstore to catch the patrons’ attention) for books included on the Challenged Books List, or other books challenged in your community. Use the clip-art to produce your […]

Organize a Public Event

Follow the example of Sandpiper Books in Calgary and make a public presentation of an Intellectual Freedom Award to a local writer, educator, or other person who has made a contribution to preserving intellectual freedoms in your community or region. (Sandpiper made its third annual Freedom of Expression award to Michael Dobbin, artistic director of […]

Involve Your Local Government

Ask your municipal or local council to declare your community a Freedom to Read Zone. The proclamation could be modelled on the Sample Proclamation. Make sure that local media are alerted to well publicize the proclamation in your community. Be sure to plan events such as those suggested below to take advantage of the proclamation.

Host Your Own Photo Contest

A great way to get people involved is to host a photo contest in your community or school. Ask participants to submit photos about freedom of expression, which could include photos of challenged books, Freedom to Read events, the Freedom to Read Week poster, people reading or anything that promotes the written word. Some fun […]