What is Teen Readers Society (TRS)?
We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit organization working to reverse declining reading rates in teens and young adults. TRS is the only grassroots, teen-driven organization in the U.S. focusing solely on adolescent reading behaviors. Our work consists of:
- Innovative, social-media based campaigns to promote reading through peer-driven content around books and reading;
- Carefully tailored book donation programs to vulnerable teen populations without adequate access to physical books.
When was TRS Founded?
TRS officially launched in February 2020. The work behind the scenes, including our primary research on teen reading trends, began two years prior.
Where is TRS Based?
TRS is registered with the State of California and is federally recognized as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit headquartered in Santa Monica, California. We locally support the Los Angeles area in tandem with national outreach efforts. Our team meets remotely in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines and is spread throughout North America and Europe.
Who is Funding TRS?
We are fully compliant with federal and state funding guidelines for nonprofit organizations. Our primary funding sources are charitable donations from individuals, businesses and foundations as well as in-kind donations from major publishing companies.
Teens are often overlooked by advocacy efforts by literacy organizations, based on the assumption that if children read, so will adolescents. The teen sector is critical for literacy outreach. Research shows that due to a combination of factors, including digital media use, motivation to read begins to wane dramatically in children after the age of 12. This is important because many young adults will not progress to higher levels of reading comprehension following their standard K-12 education. The consequences of low-level reading include large percentages of low-skilled adults with greatly reduced career opportunities, general satisfaction and even engagement in society. The sharp decline in reading rates in teens also suggest that for this age group, the existing scholastic curriculum to promote reading by middle and high schools rarely works well.
What’s TRS’s Approach to Get Teens to Read?
Our approach, developed in response to the special characteristics of the teen age group and their current attitudes to reading are based on these three pillars:
- Since we can’t fight it, we utilize digital media, primarily Instagram, to influence reading attitudes of teens using the power of this medium to create attention and community.
- Our content directs organic attention to books based on teens’ inherent interests and offers them ways to find relatable books based on preferences of other teens.
- We emphasize reading for the sake of pleasure of reading. This gives teens agency to discover books and become readers in their own unique ways, which by default creates excitement. Read what they want and without the pressures of having to analyze texts. This allows them to get lost on the pages of a book, which has far reaching positive educational and mental benefits.
What’s TRS’s Contribution to Higher Education and Research
TRS partnered with San Francisco State MBA students in early 2019 to produce primary research findings on teen reading behavior and cultural attitudes towards digital platforms. The results of this study were the basis for the creation of social media public awareness campaigns targeting teens and were published on our website. Since January 2021, we’ve been working with the Psychology department at Dominican University of California to deepen our understanding of teen reading motivation across the gender identity spectrum to learn how to positively change reading behavior.
Does TRS promote e-Books or Traditional Books Only?
We promote reading regardless of formats and platforms. Whatever works best for you is what we recommend the most. Our outreach efforts, on the other hand, focus on traditional or physical books because of inherent technological access disparities for e-books which affect many of the low-income communities we support.
How Can I Support TRS?
Please follow our Instagram account at @teenreaderssociety.
How Can I Become Part of TRS?
Check out our LinkedIn page for career opportunities.