On a mission to support our students using the five pursuits in our lessons and units.

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.

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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.


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.