Teen Reading Lounge is PHC’s award-winning, nontraditional book club for youth ages 12-18. Participants work together to co-create the reading list for their program sites and, with support from trained facilitators, design creative projects that connect themes in their books to tangible action in their communities. Teens report stronger interpersonal, communication, literacy, and critical-thinking skills, and increased confidence.
The program is built on the belief that encouragement to choose creative pursuits and interest-driven programs is crucial to adolescent development. The humanities naturally push young people to ask questions and share ideas, activities that are vital as they begin to discover who they are, who they want to be, and their role in their community.
Teen Reading Lounge builds several important skills and competencies, including:
- 21st century skills advocated by the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences;
- Civic, social literacy, and basic literacy skills identified by PA Forward, the Pennsylvania Library Association’s literacy initiative;
- Reading comprehension, speaking and listening, civics and government, interpersonal relationships, and arts and humanities standards in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards; and
- Reading literature and speaking and listening standards in the Pennsylvania core curriculum.
- Self knowledge, empathy, and cultural literacy
“...if you’re looking to create a book club that’s going to really have the elements that will make young people want to be there and stay engaged -- this is it.”
– Aurora Sanchez, Free Library of Philadelphia
In bringing Teen Reading Lounge to communities across Pennsylvania, PHC invests funds to improve outcomes for youth, but it also helps position libraries and out-of-school-time sites to innovate in the way they serve youth. In addition to the funding program sites receive to cover program expenses as well as an honorarium to pay a program facilitator, PHC also provides professional development to build facilitators and libraries capacity to strengthen and sustain youth engagement. PHC convenes sites in a monthly community of practice meeting, and presents both in-person and virtual trainings on topics such positive youth development, social emotional learning, and culturally responsive education.
Teen Reading Lounge was honored as a finalist for the 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. It was also named 2015 Afterschool Champion by the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network.
Teen Reading Lounge Program Development Guide
Detailed information about Teen Reading Lounge is available in the Teen Reading Lounge Program Development Guide. You can also download a PDF of the guide here.
Teen Reading Lounge is made possible by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Department of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor. The views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services or the Department of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, generous individuals, foundations, and corporations.
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