Teens encouraged to rediscover love of books

Connie Goff

The old mantra "kids who read succeed" might be well known, but to get a teenager to put down the remote control or get off the computer and pick up a book is a challenge, to say the least.

"Books with Bite," is the theme for National Teen Read Week 2008, which is Oct. 12-18. Teen Read Week is an initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association. It was started in 1998, making this the 11th celebration of the event.

Barry Crossland, librarian at Maryville High School in Maryville, Mo., said kids like to read what's popular.

"I want the students to read," he said. "Their interests drive the book purchases I make for the library. The more kids read, the better they read and the better they comprehend what they are reading. If kids are reading something they enjoy, they enjoy reading. That's important."

Crossland said children seem to like reading books in a series. "Harry Potter," the Stephenie Meyer "Twilight" series, Ted Dekker's mystery/science fiction series and Scott Westerfield's series' including "Pretties," Uglies," "Specials," and "Extras" have all been popular reading material for students.

Stephanie Patterson, co-director of the Maryville Public Library, researched some of the highest-circulating young adult titles in 2008. Among the titles topping the list were Rick Riorden's fantasies, "The Sea of Monsters" and "The Lightning Thief,"  Susan Beth Pfeffer's "Life As We Know It," Gail Giles' "What Happened to Cass McBride?" and Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series.

Twenty-six books are listed in the 2008 Teens' Top Ten Nominees. Titles such as "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare, "Eclipse" by Stephenie Meyer, "Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows" by J.K. Rowling and "Saving Zoe" by Alyson Noel are included on the list. To view the entire list log onto

The American Library Association created tips for connecting teens with books. Tips for parents include:

- Read the same books your teenager is reading.

- Talk about the books with your teenager.

- Have plenty of books around the house for your teenager to choose from.

- Keep books in key locations: car, bathroom, kitchen, den, near the TV and computer.

- Make sure your teen has transportation to the library and bookstores.

- Visit the library with your teenager.

- Buy books together.

- Turn off the TV one evening per week and spend the time reading.

Crossland has a few tips for parents as well.

"It's important for parents to read to their children until they can do so themselves," he said. "Kids are mystified when you read to them. They can see the 'chicken scratches' on the pages and want to know what it says. It gives them the desire to be able to read themselves."

Maryville Daily Forum