PROGRAM: Teen Reading Lounge

Presented by:
Pennsylvania Humanities Council
National Partner: NEH Local Partner: K-12 Institutions, Libraries, Other Subject: K-12 Education, Literacy, Other, Poetry, Varies Audience: K-12, Young Adult, Youth/Teen

Teen Reading Lounge is an award-winning, nontraditional book club for teens ages 12-18. Teens help to create the reading list for their program sites and, working with trained facilitators, to design creative projects that bring the books to life. Participants report stronger interpersonal, communications, literacy, and critical-thinking skills, and increased confidence.

The program is built on the belief that encouragement to choose creative pursuits and interest-focused programs is crucial to teen development. The humanities naturally push teens to ask questions and share ideas, activities that are vital as teens begin to discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to relate to other people.

In bringing Teen Reading Lounge to communities across Pennsylvania, the council invests funds to improve achievement outcomes for youth, but it also helps position libraries to make changes in the way they serve youth. Program sites receive funding to cover program expenses as well as an honorarium to pay a program facilitator. They will also receive training in working with facilitators and local teens to design a program that’s meaningful for their communities.

Teen Reading Lounge was honored as a finalist for the 2015 National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award. It was also named 2015 Afterschool Champion by the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network. It is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.