The Power of Enabling Texts: Using Multicultural Literature to Support Literacy Development

9th National Conference of African American Librarians – St. Louis, Missouri – August 5, 2015

Planned by Black Caucus of the American Library Association

Abstract: Dr. Alfred Tatum’s research on enabling texts capitalizes on the textual lineages of the African American community and showcases the power–and importance–of story to connect with African American youth today.  According to Tatum, enabling texts encourage and empower youth to take action in their own lives and in the lives of others and can include both fiction and informational texts.  Enabling texts reflect an awareness of the real world, demonstrate resiliency, focus on the collective struggle of African Americans, and nurture multiple identities (Tatum, 2009).  In this program, participants discussed how to define, identify, and use enabling texts with youth in public and school libraries.  Book resource lists were provided containing recent middle-grade and young adult titles that are usable examples of enabling texts to draw on for library programming and collaborations.

PowerPoint Slides:


The Power of Enabling Texts PowerPoint Slides

Session Handouts:

Enabling Text Rubric

Resource List: Literacy Development Youth of Color

Sample Text Mediation Plan

Selected List of Enabling Texts


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