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Jon Scieszka, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Jon Scieszka's National Ambassador Platform

During his appointment as National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Jon Scieszka outlined his goals to inspire America's youth in their reading:

"My mission as Ambassador is to get kids excited about reading. Recent surveys and statistics show kids reading less, and getting worse at it. My experiences as an elementary school teacher, a children’s book writer, and the founder of a literacy initiative for boys called GUYS READ External, have all taught me that kids will read if they are motivated to want to read.

So here are a few tips to motivate kids:

  • Expand your definition of reading beyond fiction and novels. Lots of kids love to read non-fiction, humor, comic strips, magazines, illustrated stories, audio recordings, and websites. It’s all reading. It’s all a good way to become a reader.
  • Let kids choose reading that interests them. It may not be the reading you like, but making the choice is important to kids.
  • Be a good reading role model. Talk to your kids about how you choose what you read. Share your reading likes and dislikes. Let kids see you reading.
  • Try not to demonize TV, computer games, and new technologies. These media do compete for kids’ time, but they are not the “bad guy.” Help kids become media literate. Show them how different media tell stories in different ways.
  • Think global. Act local. There are all kinds of good people and worthy groups working to help kids read. Teachers, librarians, and booksellers are a wonderful resource. Ask them for book recommendations. Join a local literacy group.

There is no one book that is right for all kids. But there are all kinds of crazy, interesting, and amazing books out there. It’s our job to help kids find that book that will inspire them to want to become readers."