Support Teen Lit Day 2008

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Cross-posted at the Media Literacy Ning and Fireside Learning.

Support Teen Literature Day, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Service Association (YALSA), is April 17.

From the wiki:

Librarians all across the country are encouraged to participate in Support Teen Literature Day on April 17th, 2008, by hosting events in their library or through their web site on that day. The purpose of this new celebration is to raise awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens.

Although I am not a librarian, I am a lifelong fan of young-adult (YA) fiction, and I was inspired by the more than 30 suggestions for celebrating Teen Lit Day listed at the wiki. So, for the next several days, I will devote space in this blog to thoughts, ideas, and reflections on YA and how it is being repositioned within the realms of multiliteracies and Web 2.0. (See the YALSA site for a variety of booklists, including “Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers” and “Outstanding Books for the College Bound.”)

One way to celebrate YA — or any book, for that matter — is through a book talk.

A key component of a good book talk is the moment when the presenter reads aloud a passage from the text. In addition to attracting readership in the same way movie trailers attract an audience, read-alouds are a research-based strategy for improving fluency, timing, and expression traditionally used in the primary grades.

In Yellow Brick Roads: Shared and Guided Paths to Reading 4-12, Janet Allen presents an argument for reading aloud to older youth, particularly struggling adolescent readers: “All students, regardless of age, deserve the opportunity to see the story without struggling with the text. . . . For students who struggle with word-by-word reading, experiencing the whole story can finally give them a sense of the wonder and magic of a book.”

YA literature, a genre often credited with capturing the attention of at-risk readers, when coupled with book talks and read-alouds, is a promising avenue by which we might convince youth that print-based texts are as relevant, enjoyable, and interactive as their favorite digital texts and electronic media.

Mr. Swanson, my 4th grade teacher, read to us every day as we ate lunch in the classroom (our school did not have a cafeteria). He read mostly longer selections that would fill the lunch period, and he often read chapter books (a chapter a day). He took student recommendations, too. One kid recommended Harriet the Spy. I ended up checking out that book and The Incredible Journey and reading them on my own after the fact. These experiences fed into a lifelong habit of pleasure reading.

And that’s what I think. What do you think about YA literature, book talks, and read-alouds?

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