Clint Smith’s The Danger of Silence was shared with both staff and students as a prompt for deeper reflection on how the characters in On the Come Up use or don’t use their voices in the book.
The 20-30 minute student book talk involved a round robin approach to send the message that everyone’s voice matters. Facilitators were provided with a list of questions/prompts to generate rich conversation. Once everyone had a chance to speak, students were invited to respond to some of the comments they heard, ask questions, or share other observations. Students reviewed book talk expectations for participating in their ELA classes in order to help them prepare to share their opinions and ideas. Likewise, possible responses to challenging questions were provided to all staff facilitators prior to the book talks to help them prepare and feel more comfortable.
As a follow up to the book talks, further student/staff meeting dates were set up for processing and reflection, and to provide further discussion on topics specific to the book’s themes such as “community and identity.” Clint Smith was scheduled to visit as a guest speaker both during the school day and in the evening so that all members of the school community had the opportunity to hear him. His award winning poetry collection, Counting Descent, was made available for purchase in the library to further expand and complement our “Community Reads” experience.