It Takes a Village
You may be thinking, “I teach biology. I don’t need to know about middle grade (MG) or young adult (YA) literature.” Let’s see if we can convince you otherwise.
1. We can all agree that a large part of working with adolescents is building relationships with them. Understanding what your middle or high school students are interested in reading or reading about gives you insight into their interests as a learner and their lives outside of school.
2. Even if your students aren’t reading below grade level and perhaps can’t access many of MG or YA titles, it is still important to be aware of popular MG and YA books and materials. Why? Just because a student’s reading achievement may dip below grade level, does not mean their interests and curiosities do as well.
3. We have a national challenge with reading apathy amongst adolescent learners; those that can read but choose not to. Luckily, the MG and YA publishing world has exploded with more diverse perspectives, topics, and themes in recent years. You are part of “the village” it will take to connect students with texts that reflect who they are, what they’ve experienced, and who they want to be.
You don’t have to read all the MG and YA titles out there (although look around and you might be surprised by the number of adults reading MG and YA literature right now) but you should be aware of common themes, popular authors, and pertinent topics that your students want to read about. Are you convinced? Let’s jump into the engaging world of middle grade and young adult literature!