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October 19, 2010 > Alameda County Library News: This Week is Teen Read Week

Alameda County Library News: This Week is Teen Read Week

By Kathleen Hannon

October 17 - 23 has been designated as Teen Read Week by the Young Adult Library Services Association. Begun in 1998, the national literacy initiative is designed to aid parents, librarians, educators, booksellers, and others concerned with young adults in helping teens learn to read for fun. This year's Teen Read Week theme is Books with Beat @ your library, and encourages teens to enjoy poetry, audiobooks, books about music, etc.

While some would say librarians and teachers are the most qualified to promote reading as fun to teens, in reality parents can play a big role in creating a positive attitude towards reading. Though many parents do take a very active role in early literacy by reading to their preschoolers, and elementary school children, sharing a book with a junior high or high school student does not happen often. There are some very valid reason why this change occurs, such as tweens and teens not having the time to read together with their increased homework and extracurricular activities. Also as teens are growing and developing into independent people, they have a tendency to break away from parents to create a separate identity, which often means not wanting to do activities with mom or dad. Despite these obstacles, sharing a book with your tween or teen offers many benefits for both you and your young adult.

Reading is a skill, and like any skill it needs be practiced regularly. Today many teens are very technologically adept, because that is a skill they practice regularly while they enjoy social networking, downloading music, etc. For those teens that learn to love reading, this too can be a skill in which they will excel. By helping a teen find a book that reflects his or her interests and sharing it with them, parents can help teens improve their reading skills by showing them how enjoyable reading a book can be.

Also sharing a book with your teen can be a great way to improve communication. Besides talking about the book itself, many times these discussions lead to the teen's view on other matters, or perhaps what is happening in his or her life at the moment. Sometimes there are difficult issues that parents want to broach with teens, and a book that deals with a specific issue may be a way to open that discussion.

The librarians at the Alameda County Library can be of great help in choosing books to share with your teen. Or parents and teens may want to visit the library system's website at and go to the Teen section. Under Teen Scene click on "Books" and you'll find a wide variety of databases that offer booklists from classics to popular teen series.

On October 18th of Teen Read Week remember to go to to find out the top ten books selected by teens for 2010. You and your teen may find the perfect book to share with each other.

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