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Cultivating Genius

Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy

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Cultivating Genius from Scholastic focuses on propelling students toward a lifetime of learning.

Many students of different backgrounds are walking into the school building with their heads down, trying not to interact with others? It’s because educators are not able to unite students of different colors which unfortunately leads to their misery. Scholastic Corporation, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books has released Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy, a new professional title created to help k-12 educators ensure all students succeed.

Authored by Dr. Gholnecsar (Gholdy) Muhammad, the Cultivating Genius unpacks the critical need for honoring students’ identities to help them grow academically and personally. The book aims to support educators nationwide when they are searching for ways to improve literacy achievement.

Dr. Gholdy Muhammad is an associate professor of language and literacy at Georgia State University, and director of the Georgia State Urban Literacy Collaborative and Clinic. She has extensive knowledge of culturally and historically responsive literacy within Black communities, coupled with her equity framework, which creates intellectually invigorating education for all students.

Available online, the book spells Dr. Muhammad’s equity framework draws from her research on 19th-century Black literacy societies. The research found that the period promoted literacy as a conduit for lifelong learning while also countering racism and oppression.

The four pursuits, or learning goals, which are part of Dr. Muhammad’s Historically Responsive Literacy Framework for Teaching and Learning, include:

  • Identity—defining self and making sense of one’s values and beliefs
  • Skills—achieving proficiencies through reading and writing meaningful content
  • Intellect—gaining knowledge and learning to think deeply
  • Critically—developing the ability to read texts to understand power, authority, and oppression

Dr. Lois Bridges, Vice President & Publisher, Scholastic Education comments, “This powerful title is the guidebook for rich and meaningful reading and writing, propelling our students toward a lifetime of learning.”

Dr. Muhammad calls for a shift to honest, bold, and unapologetic pedagogy that is responsive to the social times after observing educators striving to learn and respond to the social and cultural lives of their students. She shares new goals for literacy education that are inclusive and incorporate diverse and enriching texts to elevate education for all kids across grade levels and content areas. The Cultivating Genius book provides specific supports for educators teaching students of color—who are often marginalized by learning standards, school policies, and classroom practices—including self-reflective questions, culturally responsive text recommendations, and sample lesson plans.

The Historically Responsive Literacy Framework is a universal teaching and learning model that helps teachers cultivate the genius within students and within themselves and teach in ways that create spaces for mutual empowerment, confidence, and self-reliance,” said Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, associate professor of language and literacy at Georgia State University.

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