The Importance Of Recreational Reading

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One of the perennial challenges school librarians is creating male readers, regardless of age or school setting. However, in today’s increasingly fast-paced society, it is particularly hard to reach adolescent males with the gospel of reading. Many of them have been scarred by years of painful reading experiences in school, weakened by little to no exposure to print and meaningful literary experiences outside of it, and a distracted by a plethora of extracurricular activities and entertainment alternatives that knock recreational reading several notches down their priority lists. While no social, racial, or ethnic class is exempt from this issue, and good readers can be found all over the socioeconomic and ethnographic spectrums, the struggle…show more content…
Recreational reading is a powerful tool that can help these boys boost their academic performance, better relate to their peers and authority figures, better understand society and empower them to engage it and even change it, and reduce the risk of them leading lives of poverty, unemployment, addiction, and incarceration (Tatum, Teaching 15). Yes, reading has that kind of power to influence young men and put them on the right track to achieve success and happiness in life. In particular, this paper will examine strategies to entice black teen males to read, explore themes, authors, and titles that resonate with young black men, and seek ways that school libraries can better serve the needs of this vital population. Since American society is only as strong as its most vulnerable members, arming black adolescent males with the gift of reading is as important of a national and societal security program as they…show more content…
Pride and Reid remind us of the power of the dust jacket to attract attention (33-34). Black students are drawn to books with black people on the cover, so these books must be seen. Welch notes that male readers are particularly attracted to books with exciting photographs and edgy title fonts (41). Consequently, a good strategy for increasing the “visibility” of books is to shelve them with the covers out. While it is not feasible to face all or even many of the book covers out, it is possible to pull books out and place them on tops of shelves or in other locations where they can easily be seen. Another way to connect with teens and increase the visibility of not only individual titles but the library as a whole is through the use of social media (Pride and Reid 34). School library websites and social media platforms can connect students with books and media-savvy publishers, blogs, and other book sites. Booktalking is another tried-and-true trick that can be used to introduce students to books across a wide variety of genres, cultures, and interests. A good booktalk should be a brief advertisement for a book that catches the audience’s attention without giving too much away and leaves them wanting more, thereby increasing the likelihood that that they will want to read the book themselves (Lesesne, 115). Librarians

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