Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.


Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy  by Dr. Gholnecsar (Gholdy) Muhammad unpacks the critical need for honoring students' identities to help them grow academically and personally during a time when educators nationwide are searching for ways to improve literacy achievement.


In Cultivating Genius, Dr. Gholdy E. Muhammad presents a four-layered equity framework—one that is grounded in history and restores excellence in literacy education. This framework, which she names, Historically Responsive Literacy, was derived from the study of literacy development within 19th-century Black literacy societies. The framework is essential and universal for all students, especially youth of color, who traditionally have been marginalized in learning standards, school policies, and classroom practices. The equity framework will help educators teach and lead toward the following learning goals or pursuits:


Identity Development—Helping youth to make sense of themselves and others

Skill Development— Developing proficiencies across the academic disciplines

Intellectual Development—Gaining knowledge and becoming smarter

Criticality—Learning and developing the ability to read texts (including print and social contexts) to understand power, equity, and anti-oppression


When these four learning pursuits are taught together—through the Historically Responsive Literacy Framework, all students receive profound opportunities for personal, intellectual, and academic success. Muhammad provides probing, self-reflective questions for teachers, leaders, and teacher educators as well as sample culturally and historically responsive sample plans and text sets across grades and content areas. In this book, Muhammad presents practical approaches to cultivate the genius in students and within teachers.


In understanding the Literary Societies of the 1800s, give examples of how literacy learning encompassed cognition (reading and writing skills) as well as social cultural practices (learning about identity and equity).

How did the Literary Societies connect to joy, love, and aesthetic fulfillment?

What impact was made when learners of different literacies and experiences came together to learn from one another- using each other’s ways of knowing as resources for new learning?


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