What is Readers' Advisory?

Readers' advisory (sometimes spelled readers advisory or reader's advisory) is a service which involves suggesting fiction and non-fiction titles to a reader through direct or indirect means. This service is a fundamental library service; however, readers' advisory also occurs in commercial contexts such as bookstores. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Readers'_advisory.

Some tips for being a Readers' Advisor:
1. Be enthusiastic. Let everyone know that you love to talk about books and that finding the right fit really makes your day.

2. Be approachable. Let students (and staff) know that you are not only willing but eager to help them find that next good read.

3. Be knowledgeable. Use some of the links below to catch up on new releases and classics. Visit local book stores. The children's or youth buyer will be more than happy to talk books with you.

4. Ask the students. The students are great resources for finding out what is popular right now. Ask students to let you know how they liked a book when they return it. Create a forum for student book reviews. The most popular series often become that way through word of mouth.

5. Check reading levels. While students should never be restricted to levelled books, as Richard Allington asserts, students who are reading at an appropriate, or even an easy level will find reading more enjoyable and will become better readers. As adults we don't choose to read at our instructional level for pleasure. Why should students? Ask students what they read last and how they liked it.

6. Check for genre. Ask some leading questions about the types of books students enjoy. "Do you like imaginary stories or fact books?" "Do you like mysteries or funny stories?"

7. Remember different media. Readers' advisory is not only about books. Don't forget magazines, newspapers, audio books, podcasts, encyclopedias, online resources, videos (viewing and responding are literacies too).

8. Make displays. Some students are reluctant to approach a new staff member at first. Creating displays of popular and topical reads in the library is another way to 'suggest' resources.

Resource Links:

Making the library an inviting and exciting place to be is essential. Connect with students and become their "go to" place for their next great read or their next inquiry project. Here are some useful resources for inspiring young readers:

  • Scholastic Book Talks : monthly themed book ideas for various age levels, linked to other Scholastic sites including author videos, author talks and book trailers on youtube
  • Readers Advisory Link Farm A plethera of links to all genres and various other reading advisories.
  • Guys Read: Ideas and articles about "boy books" hosted by Jon Scieszka
  • Canadian Children's Books The Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Teen Reading Club This website is for Canadian teens who love to read. You can introduce people to the books you've read, post reviews, share your writing, and discuss your favourite (and least favourite) reads with teens and librarians. (Canadian Focus)
  • Shelfari A community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers. Create a virtual bookshelf, discover new books, connect with friends and learn more about your favourite books.