Press Release - The San Mateo County Office of Education Launches Teens Read Initiative

REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. The San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) is launching a new Teens Read initiative aimed at encouraging teens in the county to spend more time reading for enjoyment.

Nationally, a third of 13-year-olds and 45 percent of 17-year-olds reported that they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year, if that often. At the same time, while reading scores among young children have improved steadily, achievement among teens has stagnated.
The SMCOE Teens Read initiative seeks to improve those numbers and re-engage teens in reading. To kick off the new initiative, SMCOE will participate in Teen Read Week, a countywide celebration of teen reading that takes place October 8th-14th. Teen Read Week is a
national effort aimed at encouraging teens to read for enjoyment.

In preparation of Teen Read Week, SMCOE is working with schools and libraries in the county to create programs to celebrate reading and to raise awareness about the free services and resources libraries offer teens, including a variety of reading options in paper and digital formats.
Many of San Mateo County’s 30 public libraries will make books available on the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Teen Top Ten list. From now until the end of Teen Read Week, teens can visit the Teen Top Ten website and vote for their favorite book.

As part of its Teens Read initiative, SMCOE will also launch a One Book/One County program that aims to get teens, parents, teachers, and community members reading and discussing one book this spring. SMCOE will work with libraries, schools and local book stores to organize discussions and events around each book.

SMCOE has created a special page on its website to provide tips and tools for encouraging teen reading, information on teen reading programs and events, and links to resources and research. “The evidence linking reading for pleasure and success in both school and life is so clear that we need to make every effort to help teens start reading again,” explains Gwenn Lei, SMCOE’s Reading-Language Arts Coordinator. “It is a great opportunity given there is such a wonderful variety of amazing young adult titles. We just need to connect more teens with them.”

For more information on SMCOE’s Teens Read initiative, check out SMCOE’s resource page for
teen reading and/or contact Gwenn Lei at or 650-802-5624.

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