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Helping Kids Become Avid Readers

A CUNY librarian has created a new way for librarians and educators to help children choose books that will engage and inspire them, and hopefully turn them into lifelong readers. Information Literacy Librarian Meagan Lacy co-authored an e-book, Connecting Children with Classics, which categorizes children’s books by themes that tap into what children look for when they read.

“Children don’t become readers unless they find a book that interests them,” the authors write in the book. Many book lists for librarians categorize books by subject (e.g., dogs), genre (fantasy), authors (African American), or other elements such as length, pacing, reading level, and language. But research shows that people read for a number of more personal reasons. Lacy and her co-author, Pauline Dewan, relied on a study that asked nearly 200 avid readers why they read. It revealed seven main themes: connecting with others; providing models for identity; facilitating acceptance; offering comfort, strength, and confirmation of self-worth; finding new perspectives; giving courage to make a change; and building a disinterested understanding of the world.

“If these are the reasons that people love to read, we should be thinking about them when we’re suggesting books to anyone, but especially to children,” says Lacy.

Her book has several chapters on motivating children to read and how to better understand what a child is looking for in a book at any particular moment in time. But the bulk of the book is book recommendations divided up by topics as well as by these seven reader-focused themes. The authors provide detailed descriptions of the books and why the books reflect the themes.  

Lacy hopes the book will help librarians tap into children’s deeper interests. By doing so, the authors write, they might “spark a child’s interest in a book and a deeper connection with and appreciation for reading that may eventually grow into a lifelong reading habit.

Beyond SUM

Book Cover: 'Connecting Children with Classics: A Reader-Centered Approach to Selecting and Promoting Great Literature' by Meagan Lacy and Pauline Dewan
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Explore This Work
Connecting Children with Classics: A Reader-Centered Approach to Selecting and Promoting Great Literature
ABC-CLIO, 2018

Work By
Meagan Lacy (Information Literacy Librarian)

Colleges and Schools
Guttman Community College

Bonus Content
Librarian Co-Authors Children’s Literature Guide (Guttman Community College News)

Related Terms

Beyond SUM