Alison Lambart worries that reading is a dying hobby among American teenagers.
With long school days, homework, sports, television and video games occupying most of the day for many teenagers, reading for enjoyment often gets left behind.
"They don't have the time," said Lambart, assistant youth services coordinator at Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs. "Recreational reading is on the decline."
But through programs such as the national Teen Read Week, Lambart and others hope teenagers who typically forego recreational reading for other hobbies will pick up a good book and develop a lifelong love for the written word.
Teen Read Week, an initiative of the American Library Association, began six years ago with the goal of encouraging teenagers to "Read for the Fun of It" by providing them more time for recreational reading and allowing them to choose which books to read. Celebrated the third week of October, Teen Read Week changes themes annually.
This year's theme, "It's Alive @ Your Library," capitalizes on the fascination many teens have with scary stories. Teens across the country nominated 44 of their favorite scary books, and copies of those books are available at Bud Werner Memorial Library, Lambart said. Genres of scary books range from nonfiction to fantasy to science fiction and more.
On Monday, Lambart visited Sarah Beurskens' seventh- and eighth-grade Christian Heritage School class, where she encouraged students to explore new books during Teen Read Week.
"Take charge and become proactive with your own reading," Lambart told the students. "We want you to read what you want to read."
Beurskens said many of her students love to read recreationally, but the challenge is to get them interested and willing to devote the time.
"I really find that if they get into a book, they can't put it down," she said.
Parents can play a significant role in getting their children interested in reading, Lambart said. And given reading's proven effect on student achievement, it should be a hobby parents are excited to encourage, she said.
For more information on Teen Read Week visit www.ala.org/ teenread or stop by Bud Werner Memorial Library.
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