CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), awarded Lisa Brennan, middle school librarian at St. Christopher's School, an all-boy, JK-12 independent school in Richmond, Virginia, the 2016 Margaret A. Edwards (MAE) Award for Best Literature Program for Teens.
The MAE Award provides $500 to the recipient and $500 to the recipient’s library and is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust. Brennan has requested that all award money be donated to the school library.
In her application, Brennan described how she collaborated with Phil Spears, Head of Middle School, and Warren Hunter, Director of Student Life, to create a pleasure reading program for middle school students. Referred to as “Parallel Reading,” this program encourages boys to develop "Reader Identity" by reading and reflecting on five books of their choice throughout each school year. Faculty and students of St. Christopher’s Middle School all participate to produce a program that provides skills and experiences to create lifelong readers. A variety of experiences such as responding to short writing prompts, promoting books to others, and listening to mentors describe their reading experiences help the boys develop a love a reading.
This pleasure reading program promotes positive results even with reluctant readers and offers enrichment for those who are already avid readers. Boys remark on the importance of listening to others provide booktalks, as well as how much emphasis they put on book reviews from their peers.
"Making pleasure reading an active part of each boy’s life is our purpose," said Brennan in her winning application. "We wanted to hear them discuss reading in the same way they fluently voice preferences regarding sports, music or video games."
The 2016 YALSA MAE Award Jury members are Melanie A. Lyttle, chair, Madison Public Library, Madison (OH); Sarah Razer Carnahan, Pulaski Academy, Little Rock, AR; Jackie Parker, Sno-Isle Libraries, Seattle, WA; Candace L. Reeder, Northport-East Northport Public Library, Northport (NY); and Kathryn Anne Richert, Bloomingdale Public Library, Downers Grove (IL)
For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and library staff to engage, serve and empower teens. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.