SJVWP Book Club, Zaretta Hammond

Dear Teacher Leaders,

The California Writing Project and the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project invite you to join us in studying Zaretta Hammond’s book Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain. Of Hammond’s book, an Amazon reviewer says, “[Culturally Responsive Teaching] is about understanding how students view the world through the lens of their culture, which in turns influences their own decisions in a classroom. This book can help teachers identify how students’ culture and assets can be leveraged to help them succeed” (Whitinger, John D. “Potentially Transformative.” 3 Feb 2017).

Book clubs are not new. You have most likely participated in them, and many of you have created book clubs for your students at your school and in your classroom. What may be slightly different is that this is an invitation to join an ONLINE book club focusing on social justice and anti-bias and their essential connections to literacy, writing, and learning. Our book club will take place between September 2017 and March 2018, culminating in the CWP Pre-Convention Day on March 8, 2018. You do not need to attend the Pre-Convention Day to participate in the book club (but we hope to see you there!).

Ways to get involved:

  1. Ask your principal/school leader to sponsor a site-based book club. Discuss the chapter questions in person, and then post responses online to join the larger discussion. (A link to the questions will be posted in our Google Classroom.)
  2. Join together with teachers from your area. Meet informally at a coffee shop or school to discuss Hammond’s work.
  3. Join our book study online. Interact with fellow teachers around the Valley to learn together about culturally responsive teaching.

I encourage you to to share this information with your administrators when school starts and ask for funding to invest in book clubs and support a team for the CWP Pre-Convention Day on March 8, 2018, in San Diego, where Zaretta Hammond will be a keynote speaker. The theme of the CWP and CATE Convention is “With Literacy and Justice for ALL.” Teacher leaders from around the state will also be sharing how they implement social justice and anti-bias work in their learning spaces.

If you’d like to participate, please register on the Google Form and order your copy of Hammond’s book. Registration is free, of course. After you register you’ll receive a code for the Google Classroom.

I hope you can join us!


Jackie Smith, English teacher

Associate Director, SJVWP

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