Teen Read Week 2017 Image (October, 2017, YALSA)
I am not a teen, but I was one once. And as an adult, I still enjoy reading Young Adult fiction. Yes, I am that mom who read The Fault in Our Stars, Twilight, Hunger Games and Maze Runner. I read Young Adult fiction for my students as much as I do for myself. When I told the striving readers in my 10th grade English class about how I couldn’t stop laughing while reading An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, they began to see me more as a reader and less as a reading dictator. Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually in October the same week as Columbus Day. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers. As a consultant at Custom Education Solutions, I have a world of books at my finger tips and would love to invite you in to my world. In honor of Teen Read Week, I challenge you to pick up a novel written for teens and share it with an adolescent in your life. The more we read, the better readers we become.
In Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers, he proposes the “10,000 Hour Rule.” Research shows that one thing people at the top of their field have in common, across all professions, is the amount of deliberate practice they have had honing their craft. While time and effort aren’t the only factors that determine success, there is evidence suggesting it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert.
Stephen Krashen’s meta-analysis on reading practices and effectiveness shows that in order to become better readers, children need to read more.
Think about the “10,000 Hour Rule” and research done by Dr. Krashen. If students only read during English class, which is usually an hour a day, it would take 10,000 days or 27 years for them to become expert readers. Every classroom will have students who read outside of the classroom often, those that read self-selected texts occasionally, and students who won’t willingly pick up a book outside of the classroom (or in the classroom for that matter). Sadly, studies have shown that as students get into middle school and high school, they read less and less. They read the classic literature assigned in class, but little else. So how do we keep teenagers reading for enjoyment? Giving older students access to exciting new young adult titles can reignite that love of reading and motivate them to incorporate reading as part of their every day life.
Here are a few quick tips for incorporating more independent reading opportunities in your classroom: