Books Chosen By Teens for Teens!
How do you make sure the books in your high school classroom libraries will REALLY appeal to high school readers? At American Reading Company, our answer is have high school students help pick the books.
Each summer, ARC collaborates with various community groups to employ local high school and college students and provide them coaching to build both workplace and academic skills. While these students do all kinds of jobs from warehouse work to graphic design to finance data, there is one part of their workday that is a non-negotiable: 15 minutes of reading.
Students read and review books at all levels and on a variety of topics, voting on the books they believe should and should not be included in ARC’s classroom libraries.
“Students are, after all, our real customers for our libraries” says Sharon McMahon, Manager of Classroom Library Design, and a former HS teacher. “Who better to tell us what’s in, what’s out, than our customers?”
Quotes from our Teen Focus Group:
I was never really a big reader, but this activity has exposed me to a lot of new authors. Anne Schraft is one of my favorites. She keeps the storyline exciting, yet easy to follow. I’m on my 3rd book by her.
It’s always a pleasure to read for ARC. I feel like I’m a part of something huge and amazing. The fact that my words generate a difference provides me with a sparkle of self-worth.
Everyone’s opinion matters.
I enjoy the fifteen minutes of reading because I know that by me reading, I am somehow helping other students enjoy reading books that are interesting.
Being able to critique collections of books for American Reading Company has been a fun and educational journey. I feel that I now approach new books with a different mindset.
—Phuong (Mimi) Thai
I am not a reader, but this program inspired me to explore my mind.
To be able to directly affect what books are put in the schools and to choose what kids want to actually read would have been helpful when I was still in high school.
This gives me a sense of responsibility.
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