Publication Date: November 24, 2023
Series: Language and Literacy Series
In a sea of troubling reporting about education, teaching, reading, and the wellbeing of teens, Ivey and Johnston bring some good news that shows what happens when we stop underestimating young people. This accessible book offers an engaging account of a 4-year study of adolescents who went from reluctant to enthusiastic readers. These youth reported that reading not only helped them manage their stress, but also helped them negotiate happier, more meaningful lives. This amazing transformation occurred when their teachers simply allowed them to select their own books, invited them to read with no strings attached, and provided time for them to do so. These students, nearly all of whom reported a previously negative relationship with reading, began to read voraciously inside and outside of school; performed better on state tests; and transformed their personal, relational, emotional, and moral lives in the process. This illuminating book leads readers on a tour of adolescents’ reading lives in their own words, offering a long-overdue analysis of students’ deep engagement with literature. The text also includes research to inform arguments about what students should and should not read and the consequences of limiting students’ access to the books that interest them through censorship.
Gay Ivey is the William E. Moran Distinguished Professor in Literacy at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and a past president of the Literacy Research Association. Peter Johnston is professor emeritus of literacy teaching and learning at the University at Albany.
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