Friday, October 1, 2010

Meeting informational needs of tweens with different maturity levels and interests

Tweens love to learn new things. At this stage, they are still trying to identify who they are (and this continues throughout the teenage years, sometimes into the early twenties). I think that through various displays that include both elements of fiction and nonfiction, tweens can be encouraged to explore new subjects. Tying activities that fictional characters do in books to their nonfiction counterpart is a good way to encourage tweens to read more developmentally appropriate and challenging materials.

As librarians, we need to "encourage every young teen to think critically and continually ask questions about their reading and knowledge, leading them to seek more understanding through better resources" (Hager, 2007, p. 33). I believe that as a librarian, one should encourage not only knowledge, but creativity as well – encourage tween brains to branch out into the more artistic areas. Tie in the need to be fashionable, the need that usually strikes girls as they hit tweendom, with books on growing up. At this stage it would be good to incorporate books that show how there are many different styles/looks for people and that it is important to explore identity. Many famous people have written books on style, including Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen who wrote the book Influence, a reflection on their journey and what has helped make them who they are today. This book included four sections - Fashion, Environment, Art and Giving Back – showing aspects of a well-rounded journey to adulthood. Books like Influence and The Teen Vogue Handbook offer avenues for tweens to explore and wonder about who they are going to become. 



References:

Hager, B. (2007). And knowing is half the battle, when entering the zone: Nonfiction resources for 'tweens and young teens. In S.B. Anderson (Ed.) Serving young teens and 'tweens. (pp. 31-64). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

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