In honor of Teen Read Week (October 14-20), we are highlighting some recent news and studies available in our database that are related to children/adolescents and literacy, reading, books, and magazines.

  • The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) sponsors Teen Read Week and has a website that will let you learn more about it, whether you're a librarian or not. They encourage teens to read any sort of media (print books, ebooks, magazines, graphic novels, etc) just for the fun of it. Their reasoning for a special week dedicated to encouraging teen engagement with literacy? "Although teens realize the importance of reading, they have a huge menu
    of activities to choose from when deciding how to spend their free time,
    and reading gets lost in the shuffle. Reading skills get rusty when
    they are not used. The National Assessment of Educational Progress
    (NAEP) reports that over the last 20 years there have been only modest
    gains in reading achievement. And although there are many active
    literacy campaigns, very few efforts focus on teenagers."
  • In a 2011 study, researchers asked children to watch television clips on literacy and assessed the children's reactions to them. They found that the children could remember and understand the clips, but they did not find any connection between watching the clips and changing opinions of literacy. Then again, only three years earlier, a study asked 4- to 8-year-old children what they thought of kids who read, kids who watched television, and kids who played video games. Their answers? Readers were "smart," TV fans "lazy," and gamers "bored."
  • Children's and Young Adult (YA) novels are gaining in popularity, leading to fans of all ages. CMCH has been collecting content analyses and studies that look at how these books (and children's and teens' magazines) might portray things like substance use, thinness and beauty messages, violence, tobacco use, aggression, sexual initiation, and food advertising.
  • Has your son/daughter/patient been spending more time on social networks not called Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace? If they're readers, they might be members of social reading sites, gaining in popularity, which are dedicated to reading lists, user book reviews, and community, all through shared reading experiences and interests. Popular sites include GoodReads, LibraryThing, Copia, and BookLamp.
  • There's no doubt that different media messages can contribute to self-image. If you're interested in how this works in print media for young people, check out this study on portrayals of disability in picturebooks, one on magazine advertisements and body image, one on how media exposure affects sexual behavior in teens, and one on how reading can improve emotional health and school performance.

Do you have any plans for Teen Read Week?

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