National Writing Project

The Activist Learner: Inquiry, Literacy, and Service to Make Learning Matter

Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Whitney Douglas, and Sara W. Fry

List price: $32.95
NWP's Price: $24.71

This dynamic book explores a variety of ways teachers can integrate service learning to enliven their classroom, meet the unique developmental needs of their students, and satisfy the next generation of standards and assessments. The authors demonstrate how inquiry-based teaching with service learning outcomes cultivates, requires, and rewards literacy, as well as important skills like perspective taking and compassion. Through the pursuit of service learning projects, students develop and apply literacy and disciplinary knowledge, experience real-world implications, and learn to think in more connected ways. At the same time, students acquire literacies essential for creating a culture of civic engagement and for mastering the Common Core.


"The ability to be heard is a skill that can be nurtured and developed. This book is a valuable contribution to making that happen. It is part of a growing effort to make service learning an experience that goes deeper, that looks at related policies and causes of problems as well as solutions. It values not only the unique contribution of youth, but also the human rights of youth as participants in democracy."
— From the Foreword by Mary Beth Tinker, Free speech activist, and plantiff, Tinker v. Des Moines
"Our students are indeed the future trustees of our societies, so why not engage them early on in positive activism? This book, a collaborative conversation that speaks to the challenge and the opportunity that our classrooms provide us, offers an engaging look at how a shift in thinking can positively impact our future."
Clifton L. Taulbert, lecturer, and author of Eight Habits of the Heart

"In an era where everyone has an opinion about education, Wilhelm, Douglas, and Fry take us back to the root of the word educate: to nurture and to lead forth. The Activ(ist) Learner reminds us that service learning allows teachers and students to collaborate through inquiry to ask deep, substantive questions, and then take actionable steps to make a difference in their schools, communities, and the world. If you are truly interested in education—nurturing and leading—then The Activ(ist) Learner will help you begin a transformative journey."
Troy Hicks Central Michigan University

About the Authors
  • Jeffery D. Wilhelm is a distinguished professor of English education and founding director of the Boise State Writing Project, Boise State University.
  • Whitney Douglas is an assistant professor of English at Boise State University.
  • Sara W. Fry is an associate professor of education at Boise State University.

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