The Power of Recreational Reading: Youth Developing Through "The Giver"
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As youth development researchers and practitioners, it is important to understand various developmental elements that youth experience as well as the recreational activities that fuel their growth and development. A growing problem among youth in the United States is aliteracy, those who are literate but choose not to participate in recreational reading. The growing popularity of dystopian novels being featured in the media, may affect the rate of recreational reading. Since the debut of The Hunger Games movie, dystopian movie production has flourished including the production of the Divergent series, The Maze Runner, and The Giver. The film adaptation and the book series, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has become one of the largest grossing feature films and series. With this amount of media attention, youth are bound to have interest in what the dystopian genre entails. There is a lack of research on the developmental benefits of youth reading dystopian type novels. The purpose of this study was to investigate how recreational reading of dystopian novels, like The Giver, benefits the development of young adult readers. Using qualitative methods, the researcher conducted several focus groups with undergraduate aged participants. An interview guide was used to conduct the focus group discussion asking questions in affiliation with The Giver, the Six C’s of Positive Youth Development framework, and the Reader Response Theory. The results were obtained by coding the transcripts and discovering themes. The findings suggest that as youth develop, their experience with literature develops, resulting in increased levels of competence, confidence, character, connection, caring, and contribution. These results are valuable to share with youth and youth development practitioners in order to decrease aliteracy rates and share the power of recreational reading.
Breen, Elizabeth (2015). The Power of Recreational Reading: Youth Developing Through "The Giver". Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from