Literature Selection Process
The District shall provide a wide range of literature for students that presents varying levels of complexity, style, voice, and perspective. In this policy, “literature” may include novels, memoirs, dramas, novellas, and graphic novels. In accordance with Board policy, district curriculum selections are chosen to “meet the needs of students and cultivate the skills of learning, thinking, and communicating” (EF (Local)).
In the selection of literature, books designated by curriculum must meet the following criteria:
- Clear connection to established standards (TEKS) and educational objectives
- Identifiable literary merit and educational significance
- Appropriateness for age, ability, and social and emotional development of the students for whom they are intended
Administrators, teachers, District personnel, and other stakeholders may recommend additional literature for selection. Selection of resources is an ongoing process that includes the removal of resources no longer deemed appropriate (due to age, relevancy, interest, appeal, and or book condition), addition of resources to meet the needs of students, and the periodic replacement of resources that still have educational value (EF (Local)).
Student-selected texts for independent reading—i.e., library book checkouts—do not need to follow this policy.
Teachers who wish to read literature in their classrooms that is not on the district-approved list shall submit a request and justification for their request. Rationale and justification are not intended to stifle teacher creativity or initiative but to ensure equitable access to grade-appropriate, standards-based opportunities and adequate resources for students.
Justification and recommendations are due six weeks before the intended start date of the reading. Teachers requesting to read a title not on the district-approved list shall first speak with their campus administrator to discuss the supplanting of literature. If a principal wishes to move forward, the teacher shall submit three copies of the text to the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction and respond, in writing, to the following questions:
- Why is the teacher-selected literature a better option than the curriculum-designated title?
- How will the recommended literature meet the grade-level instructional standards addressed in the curriculum?
- How will students benefit from having read the literature?
- How does the text complexity compare to the curriculum-designated titles?
- Does the book contain any use of profanity, violence, sex, drugs, or themes that might be considered offensive, objectionable, or controversial to the community-at-large? If yes, explain.
- If problems arise as students read the text as a result of controversial issues, how will they be addressed?
Once a teacher has submitted the texts and justification, a committee will review the request.
The committee will consist of at least one member of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction. Other members of the committee may include other District-level staff, campus librarian, a campus administrator, a campus parent, teachers, and any other appropriate individuals.
All members of the committee shall review the requested text in its entirety. As soon as reasonably possible, the committee shall meet and determine whether the text recommendation conforms to the selection criteria outlined in this policy. The committee will make a decision and notify the teacher and campus principal of the committee’s decision.
American Library Association
Irving ISD Board Policy
National Council of Teachers of English
Texas Council of Teacher of English Language Arts