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ICTE Tackles "Reading in a Pandemic:
How Did It Suddenly Become So Difficult?" with Carol Jago

We were thrilled at the response to our first ever virtual event, “Reading in a Pandemic: How Did it Suddenly Become So Difficult?” with the wonderful Carol Jago! During the event, Carol offered insight into her own struggles with reading during this difficult time, provided commonsense ideas for teachers on how to help students, and answered questions submitted by the participants.

Attendee Kaitlyn Brawley enjoyed the event and remarked how she felt comforted by Carol's words: "It felt reassuring to know that it's ok for me to let students focus on feeling when it comes to reading instead of thinking. As English teachers, we already have a love of reading, but sometimes we forget that one of our jobs as teachers is to help students discover that love as well. But that might be hard for students to do if we are constantly thinking about reading instead of allowing them to 'feel' it. So, it's up to us to have faith in students, to let go of the reins, and let them experience reading for themselves." 

Thank you to everyone who attended this event, and a special thank-you to Carol Jago for being so generous with her time and knowledge! 

Share Your Favorite Books with #ICTEreads

Book Recommendations for African American History Month (or Any Month) from ICTE

Are you looking to diversify your bookshelves and reading list with more books by African American authors for February (and other months of the year)? We asked the ICTE team for some book titles, and they had some great suggestions! 

Mike Macaluso (ICTE President): The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson is a wonderful middle grade mystery novel that opens the door for complex conversations with younger readers. 

Jeff Spanke (ICTE First President-Elect): Caste by Isabel Wilkerson provides a refreshing yet jarring exploration of the various historical systems that have led to the tensions and crises of our present moment. 

Kathy Higgs-Coulthard (ICTE Second President-Elect): On the Come Up by Angie Thomas is a great look at how family legacy can impact our personal identities and goals.  

Terri Suico (ICTE Executive Treasurer): Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy and Ekua Holmes is a beautiful picture book that examines the color black and celebrates Black culture. With evocative language and illustrations as well as many references to historic events and figures, this is a picture book that deserves a place in every classroom and library. 

Theresa Wampler (ICTE Secretary): The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore is about two individuals with very similar backgrounds in similar areas of Baltimore, but they end up in two very different places. The book seeks to answer the question of how one person can thrive when another in the same situation sinks. 

Laura Gellin (Immediate Past President): In Brown Girl Dreaming, a novel told in verse, Jacqueline Woodson creates vivid images that resonate while exposing the complexity of place, family, and home for the young protagonist during the Civil Rights movement.  Though advertised as a young adult novel, Brown Girl Dreaming is layered and complex enough for adults to enjoy and learn from too.

Andra Pavuls (Social Media Specialist): I'd like to recommend Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad. The alt-history novel describing the slave Cora's journey to the North transforms the escape route for slaves into an actual railroad that runs underground, complete with depots. 

Jennifer Swisher-Carroll (Newsletter Editor): Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward is a beautiful, thoughtful novel. It follows the story of a family who is challenged by their present relationships and obstacles, while also being haunted by ghosts of the past. 

Corrine Gries (Newsletter Contributor)Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes is a compelling story about the tragic death of 12 year old, Jerome. Told from the perspective of different children and the craft of time travel, this heartbreaking story sheds a unique perspective on the history of racism in America. 

Interested in purchasing these (or any) books? We recommend ordering from Brain Lair Books, our local independent bookstore dedicated to uplifting marginalized voices. 

Join ICTE for a Virtual Event 
"When It Gets Real: Considering the Complexities of Safe Spaces in the ELA Classroom"

Teaching remains one of the most important and rewarding professions in the world. It's also really hard. And even though we all want students to feel safe in the spaces of our classrooms, we rarely sit down to discuss what exactly that means, what it demands, and what it potentially risks. Our panelists will explore topics that include:
  • How can safe spaces accommodate every student's voice?
  • What does safety mean, anyway?
  • What are the limitations of safe classroom spaces?
  • Under what circumstances would we ever seek to disrupt safety, and what happens when we do? 
This virtual event is specifically focused on preservice teachers, but all teachers are welcome to attend. Registration is now open and free to all ICTE members. Not a member? Sign up for free membership here
Register for this free event now!

ICTE Accepting Nominations for Executive Treasurer

The Executive Treasurer, appointed by the ICTE Executive Committee, serves for a period of three years and may be re-appointed by the Executive Committee for a similar period or periods of time. The duties of the Executive Treasurer include:

  • Working directly with the President and the Executive Committee coordinating, advising, and assisting the efforts of all.

  • Serving as the Council’s liaison officer to the National Council of Teachers of English.

  • Managing the financial affairs of the Council, including those connected to Council events.

  • Directing the publicity of the Council.

The new Executive Treasurer will begin their term in July 2021, with mentorship and transition opportunities. If interested, send a resume and cover letter to Katharine Higgs-Coulthard at

Become a Member of ICTE

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Indiana Council of Teachers of English · Saint Mary's College · 6 Madeleva Hall · Notre Dame, IN 46556 · USA

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