Youth Section: Getting Kids Reading

By Ekaterina Valkova-Damova

The internet allows passionate readers to keep track of books they have read by maintaining online reading logs—Library Thing, for example. Similar resources aimed at children have emerged in recent years in the form of websites that allow young readers to build personal virtual libraries, communicate with peers, and exchange opinions on literary topics. Library professionals working with children can seize the opportunity to use these tools to connect with young readers.

For example, the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and Queen’s Library have put together the website Summer Reading 2011 (http://www.summerreading.org/ ) where young internet users can record their summer reading activity. Next year, these libraries will continue to build on their success with Summer Reading 2012.

The website Teen Reading Club (http://www.teenrc.ca/) encourages teens interested in reading to connect with other teen readers across Canada throughout the year. Presented at the 2011 IFLA conference, Boggnasker (http://www.boggnasker.dk/ ) is described by its creator as a tool for literary networking in Denmark that engages teenagers in reading, reviewing and rating books, and thus evolving as readers. Reading Logs (http://www.readinglogs.com/), an American program, focuses on reading, vocabulary, and spelling.

The functions of these resources—online reading logs and social networking—exist in another program called Reading Rewards (http://www.reading-rewards.com/), which in addition offers two other possibilities: a reading incentive program and the creation of teacher/librarian reading groups. Reading Rewards was developed by Montrealer Michelle Skamene, who kindly accepted an invitation to demonstrate the website at an event organized by ABQLA’s Youth and School Libraries sections on October 12, 2011 at the Kirkland Municipal Library. Attendees were happy to learn about the idea and its implementation and were enthusiastic to try out the resource at their institutions.

What does Reading Rewards do? It challenges children, parents, librarians, and teachers to work together and enhance children’s reading skills. Reading Rewards motivates children to read by attributing awards (defined by parents). Librarians and teachers can create groups, set targets, and make reading suggestions. In a safe environment, children can find friends and have access to their reading logs—a source of ideas for books to read. To find out more or to try it out, visit http://www.reading-rewards.com/get-kids-reading.html!