Honoring Net Reading Can Give Your Summer Reading Program a Boost

How often are teens criticized for not engaging in “proper reading”? According to a recent study by the UK’s National Year of Reading consortium, 45% of teen readers have been told off for their reading habits.

The researchers, through their “Read Up, Fed Up” report of British 11-14 year olds, also found the following:

  • There is an explosion of digital reading, with four out of ten top teen reads being online
  • Teens also love reading film scripts and song lyrics
  • Traditional literature is by no means lost, with Anne Frank’s Diary ranking just one place below Harry Potter nearly 60 years after it was written
  • A massive 80% of teens have actually written their own story, film, play or song


Consider what message your library sends if your Teen Summer Reading Program doesn’t honor online reading, graphic novels, manga, magazines, zines, or the many other formats teens love. And if it does, try asking teens where they go online to read and include their sites in your summer reading lists.

Fanfic, game walkthroughs, lyric sites, or blogs & poetry are only a few of the types of sites where teens spend their time reading. See what else you can uncover and reward this new love of reading with a “metamorphosis” of your summer reading program.

Joseph Wilk
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Teen

About Joseph Wilk

I'm a teen library assistant with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main location. Here, I'm the graphic novel and music librarian in addition to running anime, music, LGBTQ, incarcerated youth, and video programming. I'm happy to serve YALSA as a blogger, member of the Teen Tech Week committee, and as chair of the Music Interest Group. Otherwise, you can find me in da club.
Bookmark the permalink.

4 Comments

  1. This whole concept is NOT new! I included several YA summer reading programs that counted time spent reading in the first edition of Sizzling Summer Reading Programs for Young Adults, published in 1998! And these were programs that ran in 1996. I remember quoting one librarian from Topeka, about reading the backs of cereal boxes. The library system where I worked in 1999 switched to counting time, and allowing teens to include the reading they did online as well as comics, newspapers, reading picture books to younger siblings … In my second edition of Sizzling, published in 2006, more libraries had switched to counting time spent reading, and a number of them were including all kinds of reading activities.

  2. Kat, with all due respect, I didn’t say it was a new concept. Between the turnover that’s probably happened in teen librarianship since 1998 (or even 2006) and the timeliness of the study, it doesn’t hurt to have another voice giving a gentle reminder for the “if…doesn’t” crowd I reference above. It’s always nice to also have a reminder that libraries are increasingly engaging in liberal revamps of their summer reading programs. Thanks.

  3. Our Summer Reading program is counting reading as “Any text where you must get information”

    I’ve been promoting that text in video games, Myspace, IM, and text messanging all count.

    The teens are extremely excited and while the program starts on the 21st I have many teens asking if they can start now.

  4. Jami: Heh, so people can put fanfic in their Summer Reading log? Didn’t know that.

Comments are closed