Teen Read Week highlights importance of “reading for the fun of it”

For Immediate Release
Tue, 09/06/2011

Contact:

Jennifer Petersen

CHICAGO — With so many options for entertainment and the increased amount of schoolwork in the teen years, busy and distracted young adults often overlook reading for pleasure. Teen Read Week™, an annual literacy initiative from the Young Adult Library Association, reminds teens that reading is fun, free and can be done any place, anytime, anywhere.

This Oct. 16 – 22, libraries and teens across the country will “read for the fun of it” during Teen Read Week, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Research shows that teens who read for fun — and not just for school activities — score significantly higher on reading tests, while those who don’t lose critical reading skills important for academic and workplace success.

The overall theme of Teen Read Week is “read for the fun of it” with a subtheme that changes each year. The 2011 subtheme is “Picture It @ your library®,” which encourages teens to read graphic novels and other illustrated materials, seek out creative books or imagine the world through literature.

Participating libraries will offer reading tournaments, gaming programs, teen volunteer programs, film festivals and other creative events that encourage teens to visit their public and school libraries, select their own reading materials and get in the habit of reading regularly and often. Here are just a few examples from across the country:

  • At Hardesty Regional Library in Tulsa, Okla., teens will participate in various Teen Read Week programs including Digitize Me!, during which teens can make themselves into superheroes using a variety of online tools offered at the library.
     
  • At the West Regional Branch of the Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center in Fayetteville, N.C., the library will hold a program titled Picture It: Meet the Masters, in which teens can participate in painting lessons given by a local artist and the opportunity to submit their artwork in a month-long art show.
     
  • At the Glendale Public Library’s Foothills Branch Library, teens will attend a fantasy art workshop led by a local artist.
     
  • Teens at the Swampscott (Mass.) Public Library can Picture the Future at a robotics workshop, led by a lecturer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“As families continue to navigate a difficult economy, libraries provide a free community center, a place for teens to spend their free time and find fun, engaging activities to participate in and interesting materials to read for fun,” said YALSA president Sarah Flowers. “Teen Read Week is a good opportunity for educators, librarians, parents and caregivers and teens to spend time at their library and demonstrate the importance of funding libraries and teen services.”

Jay Asher, best-selling author of “Thirteen Reasons Why,” has joined Teen Read Week this year as the 2011 spokesperson. Asher will visit select libraries during Teen Read Week, as well as judge a teen photo contest where teens are challenged to capture an image that portrays the title of their favorite book.

“Teen Read Week is a wonderful excuse for libraries and bookstores to focus attention on a group of readers it is critical to focus on,” Asher said. “The teen years are often when a love of books will either fall away or become permanent. While the decision is up to them, it is encouraged by us.”

YALSA will announce the Teens’ Top Ten winners during Teen Read Week, a “teen choice” booklist in which teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Last year, teens cast more than 8,000 online votes, naming “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins as their favorite book. The full list of 2011 nominees is available at www.ala.org/teenstopten.

Teen Read Week 2011 Promotional Partners include: ALA Graphics, Candlewick Press, Chafie Press, Chronicle Books, Carolrhoda Lab, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Lerner Publishing Group and Penguin Books for Young Readers. Nonprofit supporters include AdLit.org, American Association of School Administrators (AASA), American Booksellers Association (ABA), Cable in the Classroom (CIC), International Reading Association, Kids Care, KIDSNET, Los Angeles Young Adult Authors (LAYAs), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), National Education Association, National School Boards Association (NSBA), readergirlz, SmartGirl, Speak UP Press, Swept Away TV/The Rock Star Stories and TeenInk.

For more information on Teen Read Week, please visit www.ala.org/teenread. Media interested in scheduling interviews may contact Jennifer Petersen, PR Coordinator, 312-280-5043, jpetersen@ala.org, or Macey Morales, ALA Media Relations Manager, 312-280-4393, mmorales@ala.org.