All Info About Teen Reading

A companion blog to All Info About Teen Reading

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Book Trailer - Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

From the publisher:
Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called the touch. (Comes in handy when youre traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie).

Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows shes next. Even worse, shes got two guys hungry for her affections, and theyre not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?

Look for a review soon!

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 01, 2009

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Author Sarah Dessen discusses her latest book, Along for the Ride.

Labels: , ,

Monday, May 25, 2009

Interesting Link -

Teens looking for a downloadable vocabularly builder to help them prepare for the SAT may be interested in Users can create study lists and flash cards, take computer-generated tests, and play games to help them become more familiar with new words. With repetition one of the keys to learning new vocabulary, this seems like an easy and interesting way to study. My only concern is that the website has some typos and poorly worded sentences, so I worry that the program itself won't be perfectly proofread. Still, with a free trial download available, it won't hurt to try it out and see if fits your needs.

The author received payment for this post.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 11, 2009

Interesting Link - Review of The Green Teen by Jenn Savedge

A Little Greener Every Day, a blog I follow, has published a review of The Green Teen by Jenn Savedge. It sounds like an interesting read for teens looking to become more environmentally responsible with tips on things like becoming less wasteful when packing lunch. I especially like the idea that, "All of the tips and advice are things that teens really do have control over - it's all advice about what they can do, not what they can convince their parents to do." I think it's definitely worth a look!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Quick Book Review - Keesha's House by Helen Frost

I picked up Keesha's House by Helen Frost from a special "April is Poetry Month" display at the library. I've been a fan of verse novels ever since I read Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust. Alternating narrators reveal stories of troubled teens who find a common safe place. They all have various reasons why they don't feel welcome at home. Stephie is pregnant. Harris just came out to his close-minded family. Katie's stepfather keeps trying to come in her bedroom at night. Staying at "Keesha's house" gives them time to make important decisions and set off on a new path in life, whether that means staying on their own or returning home. Not everyone gets a traditional happy ending, but every story is hopeful. The poems flowed across the page so effortlessly that it wasn't until I read the author's information at the back that I realized they were all written in either sestina or sonnet form. All in all, a book I highly recommend.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thoughts on 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows

I loved the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, so I was interested in seeing how Ann Brasheres' newest book 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows would compare.

As three childhood friends face the summer between 8th and 9th grade, it's obvious that they're drifting apart. Jo is more concerned with being part of the "popular" crowd, Ama can't stop focusing on academics, and Polly seems stuck in the past. But they are about to face a surprising summer that will make them reassess their friendship. Polly latches on to the idea of becoming a model. Ama, expecting to attend an academic summer program, instead is placed in a wilderness adventure program, and finds she is not well-suited for roughing it. As Jo's family falls apart and a summer fling causes conflict, she finds out how much the friendship of her new friends is really worth.

I felt that 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows very accurately depicted the pain of friends growing apart. Brasheres shows her strength in creating interesting and diverse teen female characters that you can really care about. I could also appreciate the overall message of appreciating the deep roots of true friendship.

My one complaint about the book was that the characters talked about the Sisterhood as if everyone in their school was aware of them and their magical pants. If Brasheres had stuck to cameo appearances, I think it would have been a fun nod to fans of the books. When Jo mentions being coached by Bridget at soccer camp or Polly babysits for Tibby's siblings, those of us who read the Sisterhood books could smile knowingly. Instead, it seemed like the author was trying too hard: "Hey, remember everyone, I wrote this really popular series about four best friends who shared a pair of pants?" I just didn't buy that middle school students talked about Carmen, Tibby, Lena and Bridget as mythical figures.

Still, even with that distraction 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows was an enjoyable book, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Ann Brasheres' work or books about teen friendship and discovery.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Five More Ways Teachers Can Encourage Teen Reading

Of course, I couldn't stop at just Five Ways Teachers Can Encourage Teen Reading. So here are five more ways teachers can foster an interest in reading in their classrooms:

  • Create a literate atmosphere
    Find ways to encourage a love of reading, books, and words in your classroom. Create a bulletin board of your favorite books and then ask students to add their own. Hang up posters of books and authors. Create a word or quote of the day and discuss it with your students.
  • Don't quiz the students to death
    Quizzes can be an important motivator to complete assignments and to check for understanding, but every once in a while, allow students to read just for the sake of reading. Maybe it's a different viewpoint on a scientific debate that you want them to consider or an enjoyable short story. Try to let them just read it and soak it in. Or consider alternative ways of assessing student comprehension, as discussed in the next two points.
  • Consider open-ended assignments
    Open-ended assignments can be written, such as projects that ask students to create their own interpretations of a work or they can be verbal, such as class discussions where students are allowed to take the lead and discuss the reading as they see fit. The idea of using literature circles in English classrooms has been big in the past several years, and part of the reason why they were so highly touted is that the discussion groups asked students to talk about books in ways that people really talk about books. You would never turn to a coworker and ask them to outline the three central themes in the book they were reading, providing two examples of each. But you would probably talk about those themes as you discussed your overall impressions of the book in a free-flowing conversation about your reading. This isn't to say that you should give students total control with no intervention on your part, but a little freedom in an assignment can free up students' thinking, creativity and enjoyment of reading.
  • Allow for different learning styles
    When assignments to assess students' understanding of a reading, allow for different learning styles as much as possible so that everyone will have a chance to express themselves in a comfortable way and they won't think of reading as a chore that always leads to unpleasant activities. Some students are visual learners and would be better able to express themselves through a drawing or graphic organizer such as a flow chart. Other students are more reflective by nature and thrive on introspective journals. You don't need to redesign your entire curriculum, but a few options sprinkled throughout can work wonders for reluctant readers.
  • Use young adult literature in your curriculum
    While there is certainly a time and a place for the classics, honestly ask yourself if there aren't some course goals that could be met through using books written especially for teens. These books will be more accessible to more readers and can still be just as useful as other pieces of literature in teaching thematic and writing-related concepts. If you're just not familiar with teen books, ask your librarian or media specialist if they have any ideas for recent young adult releases that would fit your needs. If you would like some ideas on young adult literature that would complement your English Language Arts curriculum, a great resource is Joan F. Kaywell's Adolescent Literature As a Complement to the Classics.

Even more ways to encourage reading deserve even More Creative Book Reports Ideas. Add more interest to your class assignments by going beyond the basic book report.

Share your own ways for encouraging teen reading in the comments!