This year Teen Read Week is Oct. 18 – 24 and the theme is Get Away @ Your Library. There are endless ways teens from all backgrounds could interpret this positive reading message. For some, it may suggest finding a quiet spot in the sunshine to reread a favorite book, letting the everyday pressure of school, friends, or family slip to the background for awhile. For others, it might mean reading the newest sci fi hit and blasting into space, leaving this universe for another. Reading true tales of escape may help some young people feel less isolated in their emotions and feelings. Whatever teens select to read, we know that getting away with books can be a rewarding part of teens’ lives. For resources to help you reach out to underserved teens this TRW, visit YALSA’s wiki.
In our small, rural community in the southwestern corner of Virginia, many students do not have the opportunity to travel the world. Our young readers venture to the far reaches of the globe through the beauty of language. Great novels transport them out of their seats and into the Egyptian pyramids, stormy seas, or dank trenches they may never see in person.
Our library’s Teen Read Week plans are modest, yet thoughtful and engaging. Old suitcases will display favorite reads and titles with traveling themes such as Walk Two Moons or A Wrinkle in Time. Travel brochures and maps will be strewn about for perusal, and hanging globe lights will set the mood. Morning announcements will suggest titles, and an online poll will invite students to nominate favorite reads.
Students will challenge their imaginations by creating book-inspired travel memes. Displayed around the building, these will serve as reminders about the joys of reading for pleasure. Students will share book scenes and sites they would love to visit, and express these future travel dreams by pinning manilla luggage tags to our travel wishing map. We will also craft travel journals in an after school workshop. Here students can write and draw notes from journeys, whether by road, bike, plane, or mind. These activities combine library, English, geography, and math tie-ins, creating a week of cross-curricular fun.
Our Pinterest Board has links to all of these ideas and is a great resource for planning and inspiration. Teen Read Week is the perfect opportunity to remind teens of not only the significance of reading, but its magnificence as well. Be sure to join the Twitter conversation at #TRW15 for the latest resources and news. Visit the Teen Read Week site for checklists, publicity tools, and discussion forums, and check out YALSA’s Teen Programming Guidelines for information about what makes a good program. Happy planning!
Aimee Haslam is a middle school English teacher in Abingdon, Virginia and a library science graduate student at Old Dominion University.