Adolescent Learners
What HAPPY Reading Has for Me

Working successfully with adolescent learners calls for the same, precise approach that's used for successful reading with younger students. Starting at the right reading level and gradually moving higher will yield the best results. Adolescent learners, however, will respond best when the material respects their age and interests. HAPPY Reading is pleased to provide a growing list of features and materials that address adolescents specifically, and we add new things each month.

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Each month we feature a prominent voice from the world of literacy education. These established researchers and practitioners offer their wisdom for your consideration and for possible implementation in your learning setting. Some of these articles relate to best practices for working with adolescent learners.

The full text of each expert article is available to all guests of HAPPY Reading until the article archives. At that time, only registered members will retain access.


Permanent Articles

The Concise Science of Reading
Our assistance for adolescent learners is largely related to reading skills. If you teach adolescent learners, go here for an overview of reading processes and concerns that apply for all learners. These articles will be valuable as reminder information for many educators and a great starting point for those with limited experience in teaching reading. Find these on the Resources page, below the calendar area.

Resource Books
At the bottom of our Resources page, you’ll find several books we recommend to improve outcomes in the areas of word study (spelling), vocabulary and fluent reading (essential for greater comprehension). These reference manuals can be purchased from reputable retailers through HAPPY Reading or can be located at a library near you, using our bookseller and WorldCat links.

Monthly Articles
These articles update monthly under the permanent, umbrella headings. Those headings, current articles and places of origin are:

School-Wide Reading
Current Article-If You Build It Up, They Will Read (Connecticut)
Surrogate Librarian
Current Article-Book Ambassador (Colombia, South America)
Book-Inspired Art
Current Article-The Snowball Effect (Michigan)
Books As Bridges
Current Article-Blanketed in Kindness (Florida and Louisiana)
Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking
Current Article-A Dramatic Difference (North Carolina)
Book-Inspired Community Service
Current Article-Love and Sandwiches (Georgia)
Literacy for All Kinds of Intelligence
Current Article-Naturally Smart (Florida)

Read here for ideas and inspiration for working with learners of varied ages, and you will almost certainly ignite your own imagination here. Some ideas will be immediately transferable and others you can adapt for your adolescents. These articles are located on the Resources page, immediately below the calendar area.

Currently, you may have a special interest in reading:

A Dramatic Difference: Elementary kids make remarkable gains in fluency
These same principles apply for adolescent learners, as well. You may need to vary the text used so it is of greater interest to older learners, but the strategy is exactly the same.

All current articles are available for all visitors. Archived items are available for registered members only.

Instructional Materials Library Free Samples
Leveled poems and reader’s theater scripts when read and re-read, as a regular part of a language arts routine, as a regular activity in a content classroom, as a regular activity at home or in a home school classroom, as a regular activity in a library or community group setting can improve fluency significantly. There are also opportunities to improve vocabulary, word study (spelling) skill, engagement, and much more. Limited access to free scripts is available to ALL HAPPY guests. To access the full library, you must pay to become a registered member.

Suggestions on how to use these poems to support instruction, including for fluency:

Suggestions on how to use these reader’s theater scripts to support instruction, including for fluency:

To access all free samples of poems and scripts:


Featured Celebrity
Those who rise to prominence in any endeavor… but especially in athletics and the arts… are often those who learn differently from most. The stories of trial and triumph offered by readers and writers who also happen to be celebrities can be informative and affecting for all of us. Some of these stories will appeal deeply to adult learners and those who help teach them.
Currently Featured- LeVar Burton

Featured Author or Illustrator
Get to know the authors and illustrators who entertain and educate us with their immense talents. Plan author study around the current artist of honor and appreciate their contributions to the world of literacy. Inspire the writer, artist, and learner inside your children or students with the stories of the storytellers.
Currently Featured-Sarah Weeks
Not only is she a prolific writer; she’s also an avid reader’s theater producer and performer!

Featured Parent
Are your learners also parents? Do they still have young children or do they have children who have moved out into the world? Parents of young and grown children share their challenges and joys here, and undoubtedly, some of these stories will resonate with your learners.
Currently Featured- Dr. Michele Cooley-Strickland of California

Featured Adult Learner
Though each learner’s story is different, certainly there are themes that every learner will recognize. Read about this month’s featured learner and find encouragement to keep after the coveted goals. These profiles are ideal for educators to share with their learners.
Currently Featured-George Dawson of Texas

Featured Educator
Watch this area for exemplary educators, including those who teach adults. Note their philosophies and their methods and decide if they might provide some modeling for what more you can do with your own students.
Currently Featured- Brad Shonk of Mississippi

Access to all of these profiles is available at:

Profiles can be read by all visitors to HAPPY Reading while they are still current. After that time, they archive and you must be a registered member to enjoy the full text of each profile.


HAPPY is pleased to recommend a wide assortment of books that make great read-alouds. Reading aloud allows more experienced readers to model fluency for less skilled readers, even adolescent learners. Exposure to engaging literature also increases the likelihood that listeners will choose to read on their own, which can lead to greater proficiency in all areas. Some of the books are classic, some new, some tried-and-true with readers and audiences. All our picture book, early chapter and easy reader picks come with some sort of instructional suggestion… usually related to word study. These descriptions are available while the books are still among our current picks. For archived descriptions, you must be a registered member.

Many of Upper Elementary books we recommend will be of interest for young adolescents, and some will be of interest to older adolescents… especially when integrated in a comprehensive lesson. Short text is, by the way, one of the best ways to teach reading strategies that can be implemented later in longer works.

In the final section of read-aloud suggestions, you’ll see chapter books and novels that are specifically for older readers—upper elementary through high school. These Junior Fiction and Young Adult titles have, along with their descriptions, both the approximate reading levels and HAPPY’S projected interest level by age. This will facilitate use as independent reading choices in addition to allowing you the option of reading aloud. In some cases, you may want to begin as a read-aloud and allow interested students to finish reading independently.

For your convenience, you can buy books through the site by clicking on the icon for the store you wish to use. All financial transactions are handled by these reputable retailers. You may also click to find books in your nearest, local library. Shared reading among young learners gives them a dramatic advantage when it comes to becoming skilled readers. And we believe it is NEVER too late to read aloud with learners of any age. As C.S. Lewis said, “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty.”

Find Books at


Links to Articles and Research

The primary focus for adolescent learners is comprehension.  Wide reading, including reading aloud, will help build broad knowledge to aid comprehension.  But sometimes, older readers still lack fluency skills that are essential for solid comprehension.  In these cases, it's wise to continue to work on fluency.  Find articles elsewhere on the web that explain the value of reader’s theater and repeated poetry reading in improving fluency. and scroll to the bottom.


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Services from HAPPY

I’m HAPPY Reading-Books to You (Optional w/additional cost)
This service is intended to support reading aloud, which is an opportunity for more experienced readers to broaden background knowledge and model fluency for those with less experience and reading skill. This is a paid service, customized in price to fit your choices; it includes a free year of HAPPY Reading membership. Because it is never too late to read aloud together, this could be a novel and treasured gift for families with older children.

Instructional Materials Library

This includes instantly available downloads of thousands of pages of leveled poem and reader’s theater scripts. Repeated readings of poems and scripts at the appropriate level for the reader are virtually guaranteed to improve fluency. Material is written with content standards in mind AND to support literacy growth across the life span for learners in a variety of settings and circumstances. Coming attractions for adolescents include reader’s theater and choral reading selections, aligned with content, for middle and upper grades, beginning in September 2011.

Only members have access to the full instructional materials library via the LOGIN button. Or you may register to become a member here:

Members Only Archive

Members-only Archive

All features—including articles, profiles and interviews—are still available after they’ve archived when you are a registered member. You might be interested in the following as it pertains to adolescent learners:


Just Read Anything-by Dr. Twila Liggett
In following Dr. Liggett’s recommendation, improved fluency is one likely benefit.


Featured Educator-Julie Dauksys
This middle school reading coach has an abundance of experience and wisdom to offer those who work with adolescent readers.

HAPPY52 Tips

Members only receive weekly delivery of Reading Raves and Reminders in their e-mail to help keep teaching practices sharp and student skill sharper. Some of these tips are related to adolescent learners.


Coming in late summer/early fall, this one of a kind resource will help you to connect real, high quality children’s literature with essential instructional goals. You’ll also be able to create text sets and identify books by author, illustrator, series, content area, reading level and much more. Improved fluency, vocabulary enhancement and strengthened engagement are among the benefits of reading aloud from carefully selected books and from students’ repeated reading of books at the right instructional or independent reading level. Often, adolescents with gaps in their reading skill are expected to keep pace in text that is on or near grade-level but is too difficult for the student. The BookMine will simplify the process of creating text sets… so that all students can be reading about the same content but at an appropriate independent level for the student. Join at today’s low price and make your HAPPY Reading experience even more of a great value for you and your students.

Members also get HAPPY Services-- including HAPPY Primary, READ UP, WORD, HAPPY Preschool, HAPPY Transitions and Bibliotherapy-- at special pricing. Workshops for both parents and education professionals are also available at discounted pricing. Write to inquire and discuss specific needs.


Registering as a member gives you the satisfaction of knowing you’ve joined a community of educators, learners, leaders and book lovers who are all about exploring better and more effective ways to coach learners to greater success. When you are at work, HAPPY Reading will be available to work alongside you to help reach higher goals. When you’re not at work, HAPPY Reading will be working steadily to bring you more stories of excellence and creative approaches to learning that will be ready when you are. Join us.

Becoming a registered member costs just pennies a day, per student. Some people spend more than this amount on a single book that may have much more limited use. You can purchase up to three years of membership at the low, introductory price. Schools and divisions may also purchase for up to three years at this same per-license rate. And referring friends, colleagues, other schools or other divisions can lead to even greater benefits for you and for them.

Special introductory price: $39.99. To register:

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