Read for the fun of it!

Read for the fun of it!
Posted on 10/07/2016

Celebrate Teen Read Week by reading 30-minutes a day

Author Miracle Austin (right) signs her new book, "Doll," for a student during G.W. Carver Middle School's Literacy Rally.

What teen doesn’t like to read?

Ok, so maybe there are a few things in the world these days that keep teenagers distracted from reading as much as they should or could.  

Just insert any teenager distraction here and you will understand why some teachers and schools struggle with the “reading for 30-minutes a day” mandate.  

Television, smart phones, Playstation, Xbox, Netflix, the internet and the world wide web are just some of the many ways that teenagers spend their “down” time. Not to mention hanging out with friends, extracurricular activities, sports and homework. 

With so many choices in a fast-paced, electronic world, it is easy to see how reading could quickly become a low priority for students as they cultivate new hobbies and expand their social networks. 

But thanks to the efforts of one local organization, and help from several other partners in education, reading for teenagers at G.W. Carver Middle School is not an extinct activity just yet. 

In conjunction with Teen Reed Week, a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association, Carver Middle School held a “Literacy Rally” to get students excited about reading. The school’s pep-rally-style kick-off for the weeklong focus on literacy was organized by the school along with Tracy and Keith Guillory of LITWaco and Barnes and Noble. It featured loud music by DJ Precise of 94.5 The Beat and music by Carver’s own drumline. 

Principal Alonzo McAdoo began the rally with a pep talk.

McAdoo told the students that their dreams were important but it was just as important to be successful in school.  

“Some of you want to be in the NBA,” he told the gymnasium full of students.” 

And even though everyone can’t be in the NBA, he said, “Every one of you can get a degree, and even an MBA,” he stressed.

There were surprise appearances by Waco High football players, as well as performances by the Waco High cheerleaders, drumline and drill team that added to the excitement. Several of the Waco High students spoke to the younger students and stressed the importance of reading and succeeding in school. 

The event closed with a presentation by author, Miracle Austin, who has recently published a new book, “Doll.” Austin has written several books, short stories and mini stories. Her audiences include young adults, new adults and adults, and she mainly writes in the horror and suspense genres.  She stressed the importance of reading, and how books helped her get through difficult times when she was a teenager and bullied by other students in school. Books like “The Hobbit,” she said, gave her courage and made her feel like she could accomplish anything. 

Austin and her husband gave 100 copies of her new book to students. After the rally, students formed a long line and waited patiently to meet the author named “Miracle,” who took the time to greet each student and personalize every book. 

Teen Read Week™ began in 1998 and is held annually in October the same week as Columbus Day. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users. 

The 2016 event will be held Oct. 9 - 15, featuring a multi-lingual "Read for the fun of it!" theme. Library staff and educators are encouraged to leverage this theme to highlight all of the resources and services available to the 22 percent of the nation's youth who speak a language other than English at home.