The Two R's

Reading and wRiting---two-thirds of the "3 R's," which many of us worry are increasingly neglected by teenagers.  However, there are many studies and websites that show both scientifically and anecdotally that this assumption is not true.  I was inspired to do a post on this based on Paulette Rothbauer's writings in Becoming a Reader (chapter 3.)

One way that libraries can increase their relevance to teens is to promote writing clubs.  Many schools have literary magazines that are produced in-house, and the library should be a partner in this endeavor.  Many schools also have "poetry" clubs where students prepare to go to poetry slams and other venues where they can share and perfect their craft.

I think that libraries should sponsor, advertise, and offer online access to as many writing programs as possible.  Since "writing is an extension of reading (Rothbauer) it is only proper that we as youth services librarians support this interes and need through the library.

One such site that I am aware of that does an amazing job of promoting the reading-writing connection is Figment (the newer, way-sleeker version of Inkpop.)  This site has everything from book reviews to fan-fiction to personalized recommendations.  Its visually appealing and easy to use--plus it doesn't attempt to be too "cool" or seem forced, it looks like teens really made it.  I know the director of the Figment project received a huge grant within the past year to continue to improve the site.

Libraries should use these tools to help empower kids to share their experiences and increase their literacy through writing.

Link for Figment: http://figment.com/

"40 of the Best Websites for Young Writers" (fully linked!) http://education-portal.com/articles/40_of_the_Best_Websites_for_Young_Writers.html

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