To read or not to read: that is the teen question Poetry slams, contests, readings hosted nationwide in celebration of Teen Read Week of 2003

Contact: Larra Clark Macey Morales

Press Officer PR Coordinator

312-280-5043 312-280-4393

For Immediate Release

September 30, 2003

To read or not to read: that is the teen question

Poetry slams, contests, readings hosted nationwide in celebration of Teen Read Week 2003

CHICAGO- In an era of Xbox and cell phones, teens across the country are encouraged to adopt an additional pastime
-reading. Teens throughout the country will participate in Teen Read Week 2003: SLAMMIN’ @ your library
(October 19-25, 2003), a celebration of the popularity of poetry with teen readers.
Interview opportunities are now available with leadership from Teen Read Week’s creator Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association.

Public libraries, school library media centers, and bookstores across America will host poetry slams, open mic nights and poetry contests and readings in an effort to make reading as much a part of the teen scene as Hip-Hop music and instant messaging.

Since its inception in 1998, Teen Read Week, an annual literacy initiative, has focused on the importance of teen recreational reading. Teen Read Week’s objectives are to give teens an opportunity to read for the fun of it, allow teens to select their own reading materials, and to help teens get in the habit of reading regularly and often.

Between sports, clubs, homework, and other activities, it is tough for teens to find time for recreational reading, and children that read less begin to loose their reading skills. According to a study by The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), there have been only modest gains in national reading achievement over the last 20 years.

Research has shown that teens that read “for the fun of it” are more likely to develop strong reading skills and cohesive reading habits. Just like any other hobby, reading takes practice. Solid reading habits increase reading proficiency and significantly increase reading test scores.

The observance of Teen Read Week reminds us that every teen is a potential reader, and that it is important for parents not only to encourage their young children to read, but provide the time and support for their teenagers to read, as well. Parents, teachers and librarians can also serve as role models for teens by reading for fun themselves.

Teen Read Week supporting organizations include: American Association of School Administrators; American Booksellers Association; Cable in the Classroom; International Reading Association; Kids Care; KIDSNET; National Association of Secondary School Principals; National Council of Teachers of English; National Education Association; National School Boards Association;; The N/Noggin; Speak Up Press; and TeenInk.

Corporate sponsors include Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Harper Collin, Harcourt,Inc., Morningstar Foods, Inc., Corporate friend Scholastic, Inc., and individual friend Pamela Spencer Holley.

For more information visit the Teen Read Week Web site at,