National Book Read 2023–2024
The NASP Social Justice Committee (SJC) invites you to take part in the 2023-2024 National Book Read featuring Disability Visibility: First Person Stories From the Twenty First Century edited by Alice Wong. The SJC encourages individuals and groups to engage with this text throughout the 2023-2024 school year. Committee members have developed a discussion guide designed developed to help readers think broadly and specifically about (a) how disability justice is a key component of social justice and (b) how disability justice must undergird our work with youth and families in schools. If you would like to lead a group discussion around this book, the guidance documents are available both online and in printable PDF formats.
As you engage in the book read, please reference the NASP (2017) definition of social justice for additional context:
Social justice is both a process and a goal that requires action. School psychologists work to ensure the protection of the educational rights, opportunities, and well-being of all children, especially those whose voices have been muted, identities obscured, or needs ignored. Social justice requires promoting nondiscriminatory practices and the empowerment of families and communities. School psychologists enact social justice through culturally responsive professional practice and advocacy to create schools, communities, and systems that ensure equity and fairness for all children and youth.
Furthermore, in 2022, NASP updated its Social Justice Strategic Goal, which is as follows:
School psychologists have the self-awareness and critical consciousness to engage in and advocate for socially just practices that protect the right of every student to receive high-quality educational access, opportunities, and experiences.
We wish to emphasize that this guide is not comprehensive and does not fully address the wide variety of perspectives that exist within the disability community. As expressed by Alice Wong in the book introduction,
[Disability Visibility] is not Disability 101 or a definitive "best of" list. You may be unfamiliar with some terms or uncomfortable with some ideas presented in this book-and that's a good thing! These stories do not seek to explain the meaning of disability or to inspire or elicit empathy. Rather, they show disabled people simply being in our own words, by our own accounts.
Furthermore, while some stories contain content that may be especially difficult for some readers-please be aware of the content notes at the start of contributor essays and seek care resources when needed-we invite you to challenge yourself to engage as much as possible.
Lastly, we remind readers that our NASP community consists of life-long learners who have dedicated their life's work to supporting the development of youth and advancing social justice for a better world. This means committing to a growth mindset, thinking critically about our privileges and biases, and opening our hearts and minds to human experiences that are not our own. Each contributor in this book is a human who deserves respect, dignity, and care. Please keep this in mind as you read, especially when you are challenged with information that you disagree with or that may feel uncomfortable. Acknowledge feelings of discomfort and, with the support of your group, push yourself to grow and continue learning. Let's commit to working toward liberation and justice for marginalized people and communities.
Positionality statement by the guide creators: This book guide was primarily prepared by a graduate student in school psychology and members of the SJC. The authors identify with a range of cultural, racial, and ethnic groups which lend unique and rich perspectives to the development of resources for discussion and learning. Furthermore, a wide variety of socioeconomic experiences, levels of training in school psychology, residential geography, and gender identity are represented. Most importantly, the authors of this document are committed to transformational change, fostering critical consciousness, and social justice in school psychology.
Planning Your Book Read
To help coordinate and facilitate your book read, below is a suggested timeline.
|Time Per Meeting
||Theme||Essays to Discuss|
|60 minutes||Introductions, norm setting, and defining collective learning goals||Introduction by Alice Wong|
|60 minutes*||Part 1: Being||Part 1: Being|
|60 minutes*||Part 2: Becoming||Part 2: Becoming|
|60 minutes*||Part 3: Doing||Part 3: Doing|
|60 minutes*||Part 4: Connecting||Part 4: Connecting|
|30-45-minute meeting or digital check-in (email, google doc, shared video check ins)||Follow-up and Call to Action||Check-in, share progress on action steps|
*We suggest a 5-10-minute check-in at the start of each meeting, 40-45 minutes of content discussion, and 5-10 minutes to debrief, share last thoughts and reflections, and state objectives for the next meeting.
Facilitators are strongly encouraged to codevelop a community agreement (group norms) at the first session and revisit this agreement throughout. The purpose of this is to (a) identify what norms each person in the group needs in order to feel heard and safe during discussions and (b) establish respectful guidelines for engaging with the material. For more information on community agreements, please see this brief guide by the National Equity Project.
Please also see the Facilitating a Book Read video available on NASP's Social Justice webpage for additional considerations for in-person environments. If you would like an asynchronous approach, we recommend dialogue-oriented sites for engaging with participants, such as Flipgrid, Padlet, Discord, or Microsoft Teams. Your schools/institutions may already have memberships and support to offer for these services. When facilitating a book read, there will likely be varying opinions, experiences, and interpretations. Furthermore, the subject matter can elicit strong emotional reactions that fuel disagreement among participants. To prepare, we encourage facilitators to watch our video, Tips for Fostering Dialogue Across Difference, to help navigate tense situations should they arise. Lastly, facilitators are encouraged to also codevelop learning objectives with group members to help guide their group's discussion. Below are suggested objectives we invite you to discuss with your group:
1. Recognize that experiences of people with disabilities are diverse, intersectional, and nuanced.
2. Examine ableism and its systemic impacts, particularly in educational environments.
3. Identify strategies to combat ableism in your life and work as a school psychologist.
4. Develop and commit to a plan to continue your education about disability justice and advocate for inclusive services that center the needs of the marginalized individuals and communities you work with.
 While we use person-first language (i.e., "person who is blind") in this guide because this is the language generally used in school psychology policies and practice, it is important to be aware that people with disabilities have different preferences regarding how they describe and refer to their disability. Instead of person-first language, some people prefer to use identity-first language (i.e., "blind person") to reclaim their ownership over how they identify, as you see the contributors refer to themselves in their essays. It is best to ask individuals what their preferences are. Please refer to the APA guidelines to learn more: https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/bias-free-language/disability
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