My research is focused on literacy instruction for at-risk and incarcerated teens. Did you know that on any given day, approximately 100,000 teens are in custody? Some of them slip in and out of the juvenile correctional system, cumulatively spending years of their lives incarcerated.
Many of these teens lack basic reading skills — and research shows that literacy is one of the most important factors in their chances for avoiding recidivism.
We can help! This isn’t a job just for teachers, researchers, and correctional facility administrators. If you’re an adult, you can volunteer your time. If you’re a teen, you can call up a correctional facility, ask to speak to an English instructor, and offer to act as a pen-pal to one of their students. Some of these kids your age are very lonely and would love to have someone to write to. Also, anybody can donate used books to juvenile correctional facilities. And you can remember these teens in your thoughts or prayers.
If you’d like to learn more, take a look at some of my articles, cited below. I also recommend reading the Journal of Correctional Education for a broad view of the field.
Guerra, S. (2012). Using Urban Fiction to Engage At-Risk and Incarcerated Youth in Literacy Instruction, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (55)5, p 385-394.
Guerra, S. (2010). Reaching Out to At-Risk Teens: Building Literacy with Incarcerated Youth, PNLA Quarterly, 74:5.
Guerra, S. (2010). Teaching with Urban Fiction. Paper presented at the annual meeting of WORD, Redmond, WA.
Guerra, S. (2010). The Transformative Potential of Young Adult Urban Fiction for Incarcerated Youth. Paper presented at the annual meeting of WLA/PNLA, Victoria, Canada.
Guerra, S. (2009). Colonizing Bodies: Biotechnology and Corporate Power in Young Adult Science Fiction, Children’s Literature in Education, 40: 275-295.
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