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d etermining the right to read. *. F read OM. A WebQuest for 9-12 th grade ELA class b y Jenny Wilkins. feared. “Until I. lose it,. I would . I never loved to read . One does not love breathing.”. - Harper Lee. *INTRODUCTION.

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d etermining the right to read
determining the right to read



A WebQuest for 9-12th grade ELA class by Jenny Wilkins



“Until I


I would

I never loved to read.

One does not love breathing.”

- Harper Lee


But have you ever considered that it also gives you the freedom to read?

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees us to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.


Although this freedom may be something that you take for granted, your freedom to choose what you read, see or hear is constantly challenged. This is especially true in schools and libraries across the country. Sex, profanity, and racism are the primary categories of objections. The motivation behind censorship of books with such themes is usually to protect children.

Though the intent is commendable, it can also be argued that this method of protection is more dangerous than the controversial themes themselves.

Other people are trying to determine what you can and cannot read, and therefore determine what you can and cannot learn.


An important court decision is approaching. Five of the books on our school’s reading list are being considered for removal from library shelves and school curriculum.

It is up to you to stand up and represent local youth. You can influence the local government and community’s decision!

Ready? Click the arrow to begin!



You will be assigned to five different groups that will each represent a different book:


as a group you will address
The history behind the censorship of this book and author

Reasons why this book might be challenged

The themes of the book which have a larger meaning, beneficial or objectionable, to you and your peers, community and nation.

After your research phase, your group will write and film a public service announcement (PSA) about why this book should or should not be made available to students such as yourselves.

*As a group, you will address:

After completing your PSA, each group member will write a 2-3 page persuasive essay on their personal belief on if this book should be banned or not.

Click the arrow to get started on your group work!




Each group member will have one of the following roles and duties, along with questions to investigate. Click each role for a description.





  • 3


  • 4





Remember, though this project is split up into different roles, it is extremely important that you all work together as a team. Everyone should be assisting each team member to assure the finished product is phenomenal!

A sample PSA by the American Library Association

Finished with your PSA? Click the arrow!

post production
* Post-Production

Once you have finished your PSA, each group member must hand in a 2-3 page persuasive essay on if the book should or shouldn’t be censored and why. The facts and arguments from your team’s historian, advocate and opposition will come in very handy here. How do you feel about the book?

Want to see how your work will be judged? Click the arrow!



Students will be evaluated for their PSA and persuasive essay. Click to see each rubric.

  • PSA


All finished? Click the arrow!


Great work! Because of your PSA, local officials have decided further discussion with the community is needed before they remove the books from the libraries and schools!

However, these attempts at censorship are very real. Even when the eventual outcome allows a book to stay on shelves, it is important to remember that someone has still attempted to restrict another person’s ability to choose.

According to the ALA, approximately 85% of challenges to library materials receive no media attention and go unreported. The best way to exercise your freedom to read and fight censorship is to be aware of what is happening. When it happens, don’t be afraid to speak up or let others know!



Think for yourself and

let others do the same.

teacher page
* Teacher Page

NYS ELA Standards

Standard 1: Students will read, write, listen and speak for information and understanding.

Standard 2: Students will read, write, listen and speak for literary response and expression.

Standard 3: Students will read, write, listen and speak for critical analysis and evaluation.

Standard 4: Students will read, write, listen and speak for social interaction.


1. Creativity and Innovation - Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

2. Communication and Collaboration - Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

3. Research and Information Fluency - Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

4.Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making - Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

5. Digital Citizenship - Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

6. Technology Operations and Concepts - Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.

**All book images courtesy of their respective publishers.