Sunday, November 4, 2012

YALSA Conf report - Bring Your "A" Game

This is the second in a series of blogs I will be making about what went on at the 2012 YALSA Literature Symposium.  The first discussed Teens and eReaders. I said I was going to discuss the YALSA conference discussion on FANDOM next. But I heard something today that made me thing. Librarians, public and school, discussed the Common Core State Standards, and what it takes to get popular YA books into the classroom. The Core Standards have been adopted in 45 of the 50 states. Many YA authors would love to see heir books used in classrooms and/or perform author visits to school classes and libraries. Many teachers and schools would love to be able to offer YA books as part of their lessons, especially because they are books o many students actually want to read. Clamor to read. Contemporary fiction that speaks to issues that kids face, in their classrooms and students hands. When young men and women pick their own books, they are more likely both to read and enjoy them. Especially reluctant readers.

The standards do not mandate specific books. But they do include exemplars, and an emphasis on classical books and lexile levels. Teachers have to fit the school time they spend and the books they select for class study into the requirements of the Common Core Standards. We can help teachers who want to include popular YA books in their curriculum by having solid plots, with three-dimensional characters that students will challenge kids and also suck them into the book and keep them reading. Books that are well written and well-edited. And we as authors can help by adding in teacher guides and other information that can show how the books relate to the standards.

Many teachers and librarians would love to supply kids with today's YA to replace the Common Core exemplars. as classroom reads. Books that challenge kids and also suck them in and keep them reading. Authors and publishers can help by "bringing our 'A' game." Making sure our YA books, fiction and non-fiction, are well-edited, the plots, exposition, and characterization are solid and present situations that students, both proficient and reluctant readers, will find page-turners. Bring reasons why a modern/popular book could replace one of the Common Core exemplars. Help teachers who want to get our books into their schools and authors to visit by providing ammunition on how your book might help them.

If you are a teen reader, an author, a teacher, or a librarian, comment and tell me what you think.

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