How do we nurture readers? Some suggestions (by no means complete):
1. Accept their interests. Not just in books. We need to know what else interests them. Music, fashion, TV, movies, devices, and all else. What is popular? What do they talk about? Let's connect that to books when we can. If they are fascinated with fashion there are books that reflect that world or biographies of models and designers. Do they like certain kinds of music? There are plenty of books that center on the music business or teens who long to make it big in the biz. One of the recent threads at the listserv, yalsa-bk, has been "if they like ____, then they will like..." which hooked TV shows and books.
2. Well stocked libraries are essential. The libraries need to be in the school, the classroom, and the home. This year, my colleague Rosemary Chance developed a program called Project BETH (Books Entering Texas Homes). I am participating in it as well as it addresses something Krashen says over and over: access to books in the home is key to the development of lifelong readers. Our grad students taking children's literature classes identify one family in their school/district/community that does not have much access to books in the home. They select 10 books for each member of the household from a collection Rosemary and I put together from the books we read for our committees. Those books are not owned by the individual members of the family. We have books and audio for toddlers to teens. It is nice to see books go to homes where, we hope, they will make a difference.
3. Involve kids in the book selection process. My friend and librarian extraordinaire, Marjie Podzielinski, takes kids to the local bookstore and lets them select books to add to the collection in her school library. Other libraries offer parents a chance to buy books to donate to libraries in their kids' honor. I always added books that were in demand when I was in the middle school classroom which mostly meant multiple copies of Sweet valley High but also included others.
There is more to come tomorrow when we delve into the final "N"--nudging.