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July 9, 2018

High school students invited to become Teen Reading Ambassadors

TUCSON, Ariz. — High school students will have the unique opportunity to explore books in a way rarely experienced through the Worlds of Words Teen Reading Ambassador initiative. Applications for the fall session are due Aug. 1.

Ambassadors learn about young adult literature under the direction of University of Arizona College of Education faculty and staff, and then share the books with their peers.

"Students accepted as ambassadors bring their enthusiasm for reading to a larger audience by talking about books in their communities and inviting other students at their schools to meet authors," said Worlds of Words director Kathy Short, a professor of teaching, learning and sociocultural studies at the UA. "Part of the value of young adult literature is its dynamic nature. The innovation and experimentation within the genre helps teens connect with the world through reading. In this way, teens involved with the initiative will be true ambassadors."

"High Schoolers who are interested in getting college experience or working with college professors should apply," said Teen Reading Ambassador George Ballenger. "I like that were encouraged to do a lot by ourselves."

All Teen Reading Ambassadors receive a free copy of the books they discuss, and Worlds of Words donates a second copy to the ambassadors' schools. Each book cycle lasts for two months. Ambassadors read and discuss the book, then create plans for how to share it with their peers.

The next month, they host a free, public event with the author. Working with faculty and staff with expertise in children's literature, education, library science and marketing, students have created book displays, flyers, social media posts and other engagements to encourage their peers to read.

"Joining the Teen Reading Ambassadors gave me the chance to meet other teens who were truly excited to read and allowed me to share and discuss books for fun," said Teen Reading Ambassador Pilar Muller. "I was exposed to stories that I had never considered reading, and discussing the books lead to more questions, making me want read and reread books for my own benefit. Being a Teen Reading Ambassador helped me gain confidence when talking to my peers, telling them about all the amazing books I read."

Teen Reading Ambassador applications can be found online and are due Aug. 1. Decisions will be returned by Aug. 3, and the introductory meeting is scheduled for Aug. 11.

A preview Teen Reading Ambassador author event will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, at Worlds of Words, 1430 E. Second St., Rm. 453. Attendees will see how the Teen Reading Ambassador program works and meet Stephanie Elliot, author of "Sad Perfect."

Media contact:
Rebecca Ballenger
Worlds of Words
Established in 1885, the University of Arizona, the state's super land-grant university with two medical schools, produces graduates who are real-world ready through its 100% Engagement initiative. Recognized as a global leader and ranked 16th for the employability of its graduates, the UA is also a leader in research, bringing more than $622 million in research investment each year, and ranking 21st among all public universities. The UA is advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships, and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $8.3 billion annually.