Reading For Them by Alicia Abdul

A few years ago I wrote a blog post on my professional site called “I’m the lucky one” bidding goodbye to five special students that I had the pleasure of being their librarian for four years of high school. Several of them I still maintain regular contact with and one in particular still revolves around books as much as life. But this summer has got me thinking back to that post and readers advisory, in particular reading for them. 

Of course I read for my own pleasure and interests and I also read for my students. That means that I’m reading a varied list from all literary genres in a wide variety of formats. Having a working knowledge of all genres provides a repository to build their interests on even if it’s not my favorite genre. I read for them. 


Yet what comes from knowing our students is what organically happens once we know the books too: matching readers and books. I regularly find myself putting a Post-it on the front cover of an ARC that I just finished with the name of a student that I need to give it to. I get a warm feeling when I’m reading a book and it pops into my head that Kat would love this book. Whether we have a classroom of thirty or a school of a few thousand, knowing our students’ reading interests and personalities enrich our personal relationships with them when the next step is book recommendation. I enjoy giving recommendations as much as receiving them. Because I read for them. 


Much has been said that we as librarians and teachers can’t encourage our students to be readers if we’re not ourselves reader, and I couldn’t agree more. What do I do during my lunch at school? Read and snack. I squeeze in a few pages when I can throughout the day which is why I usually have a bag wherever I am because I never know when the time will appear. Modeling that books are fashion accessories and brain food by having one with me gets us one step closer to more reading time (and more books read). I model reading; I read for them. 


Every day, I read for them. 


Alicia Abdul is a high school librarian in Albany, New York who currently sits on the Best Fiction for Young Adults blogging team after her 2019 William C. Morris Award Committee assignment. She maintains a professional blog Readers Be Advised on WordPress and can be found on Twitter @ReadersBAdvised and Instagram ReadersBeAdvised.