His official term as National Ambassador is ending, but once-an-ambassador, always an ambassador for reading. He says he will continue to serve as Ambassador Emeritus. He wrote an end-of-term article in the Huffington Post.
Here is the advice he has given throughout his ambassadorship:
- Let each child choose what she or he wants to read. I'll never forget my own son's reaction reading Little House on the Prairie (a favorite of many readers): "Are they really going to spend this whole chapter making a door?"
- Expand the definition of "reading" to include non-fiction, humor, graphic novels, magazines, action adventure, and, yes, even websites. It's the pleasure of reading that counts; the focus will naturally broaden. A boy won't read shark books forever.
- If a kid doesn't like one book, don't worry about finishing it. Start another. The key is helping children find what they like.
- Be a good reading role model. Show kids what you like to read, what you don't like to read, how you choose what you read. Let them see you reading.
- Avoid demonizing television, computer games, and new technologies. Electronic media may compete for kids' attention, but we're not going to get kids reading by badmouthing other entertainment. Admit that TV and games can do things books can't. Talk about how reading can make a world in ways that movies and games can't.
Scieszka is the founder of Guys Read, a nonprofit literacy organization. He is also a children's author of books including The Stinky Cheese Man.