372 Bridgeton High School Students Take Part in Online Reading Survey.


Photo Jun 10, 3 01 59 PM“I never thought I’d see this book in real life….I’ve only read excerpts,” Andre told us when we awarded him “The Art of War” by Sun Tsu just before school ended this year.   Andre, a student at Bridgeton High School, received his own copy of this book for participating in our “Teens Talk Books” program.

Offered through an online survey, the goal of the program is to encourage recreational reading and to gather data on how teens view reading and to find out what books interest them.    The program was first launched in 2012 in the Newark Public Schools with the “Are You Hungry for Books?” contest, in which 200 students took part, and was followed-up with a Winter 2013 contest at Keansburg High School, where 174 students took part.   In 2014, over 70% of the 1200 Lakewood High School students (almost 900) were engaged in the successful program.  The program was offered to Trenton High School students in 2015.

In May of this year,   372 Bridgeton Students filled out an on-line survey asking them questions on how they felt about books and why reading is important. Each student who filled out a survey was awarded a new book, and entered in a contest to win another new book of their choice.  Entries were judged by educators from around the state, including 3 librarians and several Bridge of Books Board Members and long-time Volunteers.   Fourteen winners were announced on June 10.

Serena, a Bridgeton sophomore, said: “I feel reading is important because it’s a great way to experience and learn things you aren’t usually taught in school.  Following characters through their hardships and adventures has always been one of my favorite things to do.  Plus, it’s actually very entertaining when you find a book you just can’t put down.  It’s an important part of my life.”

Jennifer, another winner added: “Reading is everywhere and just reading a book could open up so many ideas and makes your imagination run wild and just have some alone time.”

“As in the Newark, Lakewood, Trenton and Keansburg programs, what we found in Bridgeton has been fascinating and heartening,” said Daly. “We heard from the students that only a tiny percentage considered their home the best place to find a book, leading us to believe that we need to get more books into these children’s homes.  And that’s what the Bridge of Books Foundation is all about.”

Teens Talk Books 2016 was made possible through the generous support of the Charles Edison Fund (Newark).  .  The Charles Edison Fund is dedicated to the support of worthwhile endeavors in education and specifically provides seed money to projects that would not otherwise get off the ground.