WHO WE ARE
Teen Readers Society (TRS) is a grass-roots, 501 (c)(3) nonprofit public benefit organization working to reverse declining reading rates among teenagers and getting books into the hands of vulnerable and low-income youth who lack adequate access to reading. TRS is unique: all of our programs, initiatives and content are driven and curated by teens and young adults.
While reading rates are at an all-time low both among adolescents and adults, research suggests that reading for pleasure is steadily disappearing from the everyday lives of young people – regardless of gender, ethnicity, geographic location and socioeconomic status – and this has far reaching consequences.
Reading for pleasure is extremely beneficial for our emotional well-being as well as personal and intellectual development. The feeling of ‘losing one’s self’ while reading promotes deep relaxation comparable to meditation, countering depression, anxiety and stress. It also helps develop our ability to focus for longer periods of time, creating lifelong learning habits and a deeper understanding of an increasingly complex world. Reading increases imagination, empathy and self-confidence. Some research suggests that reading for pleasure is more important for educational success than socio-economic status. On a societal level, a population that reads is essential for a well-functioning liberal democracy.
Limited access to books is a key factor in prevailing inequalities and therefore, successful book donation programs are an investment in a more equitable future for all. This is because reading is directly linked to social mobility. Having a home library, even a small one, has been a consistent predicator of academic achievement worldwide. In fact, a 20-year study in 2010 suggested that having books in the home is twice as important as parents’ educational level for social mobility. According to the most recent studies, the ratio of children to books in middle income areas of the United States are 13 to 1 and only 300 to 1 in low-income areas.
Our mission is to increase the rate of teenagers who read for pleasure on a regular basis. We seek to cut across the barriers that have created negative attitudes about reading for teenagers and restore excitement about the pleasures of reading and books. Our work is based on years of study and research into teenage reading behaviors and is continually informed by feedback from teenagers and people in their early 20s.
Our secondary mission is to provide books to all vulnerable teenagers who have an expressed desire to read, but lack access to books.
Our vision is a world where all teenagers have excitement and vibrant conversations about books and reading. A world where reading and books are valued and considered “cool” and a world where everyone has access to the books they wish to read to enrich, improve and change their lives.
Our values inform and guide our work. We are committed to approaching everything we do with curiosity, respect and utmost professionalism. We seek to give space to all voices regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and beliefs, so long as voices are expressed in the spirit of collaboration and mutual respect.
Facts & Figures
An overview of reading among teens in numbers
Our findings on teen reading behaviors.