Professional Encouragement: LIT UP

How does literature change and shape lives? What are the best ways to share the empowerment of reading with teens? Those questions are dear to librarians, and also to a staff writer for The New Yorker.

9780805095852_73ce4David Denby wondered if kids were still reading books in an age of Twitter and Snapchat. To find out he spent a year embedded in a 10th grade English class and then another year in several other schools researching how teachers teach kids to appreciate literature. The result is Lit Up: One Reporter. Three Schools. Twenty-four Books That Can Change Lives (Macmillan/Henry Holt; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The book has received the glowing attention of USA Today, The Washington PostSomewhat less enthusiastic, the New York Times calls it a “a lively account” but fears that “it isn’t clear whether the students are getting as much out of the books as [Denby] believes they are.” 

NPR just posted a web-only interview with Denby, who says of reading literature:

“It’s an enormously powerful critical tool … It’s not simple lessons, of course. And it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s incremental. It happens over your entire life.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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