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Civil Discourse in Literature

This unit equips teachers with engaging lesson plans to promote respectful and inclusive discussions around literature, enabling students to develop critical thinking skills, empathy, and effective communication while exploring diverse perspectives and themes in literary works.


6-part unit
  • Lightbulb
    Getting to Know You

    How do we define who we are? What is culture and how do we express it? What topics/​ideas are significant to our lives? What topics are relevant and necessary to human relationships?

  • Handshake
    What is Civil Discourse?

    What is civil discourse? How can we voice our opinions in productive and civil discussions in public social media arenas like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? What makes opinions worth sharing with the public?

  • Group of students at a desk laughing
    Civil Discourse: An Activity

    Students will practice aspects of civil discourse with their peers, including how to communicate effectively with others whose opinions may differ from their own, and share about similarities and differences they have with their peers, family and community.

  • Sliding doors and windows
    Windows, Mirrors and Sliding Glass Doors

    How is what we read a window, mirror or a door? What other metaphors can be used to describe our connections to text? What metaphor can I use to relate to what I am reading?

  • Stack of books in a library
    Practicing Civil Discourse through Literature

    Centering around a Reader’s Writers Workshop idea, these lessons are paced for a 48‐​minute class period. Each day’s lesson has a daily plan. Suggestions for books, short stories, images, and poems are included, but use what you know works in your district, school, and classroom.