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Project LIT is, “matching students with books that really speak to them… ”

If you arrive at Battle High School’s media center early in the morning before students fill the hallways, you might just catch a group of students, teachers and community members gathered around tables, deep in conversation about a book they’ve recently read.  These book clubs, called Project LIT Battle, began this August when teacher, Lynn Hagen, became the Site Leader for Project Lit Community, a grassroots organization, started in Nashville, Tennessee by English teacher Jarred Amato, with the mission of spreading the love of reading among teens and eliminating book deserts in communities.  There are currently 60+ Project Lit Community book clubs in over 20 states around the country.                                                

At Battle High School, Project Lit Battle is organized and run by Ms. Hagen’s 10th grade AVID Elective class.  Students read the books, discuss them as a class, and then plan, organize and run breakfast book clubs.  So far, Project Lit Battle has read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Solo by Kwame Alexander.  In February, they will discuss Dear Martin by Nic Stone, and the author will be joining their book club.  Two more book clubs will be held this year – one in March, where they will read Refugee by Alan Gratz and one in April, to discuss Jason Reynold’s book, Long Way Down.

“Project LIT Battle started very small with about 20 people attending our first breakfast meeting in September,” says Ms. Hagen, “but everyone had a great time.  After two smaller book clubs, I was lucky enough to meet Nic Stone, author of our third book club book, who generously volunteered first to Skype with my class, and then to join us for our February book club.”  Nic Stone’s book Dear Martin has been very popular with students at Battle High School.  “This is what Project LIT Battle is all about,” Ms. Hagen continues, “It’s matching teens with books that really speak to them, and then inviting the community to join important discussions about issues facing our teenagers today. Not only does Project LIT Battle promote reading, but it also opens conversations, and helps teens and adults get to know each other. We’re overwhelmed by the positive community interest and support we’ve received as we’ve spread the word about Project Lit Battle.”

Given a chance to read relevant, dynamic Young Adult literature, kids really do want to read and talk about books. Hopefully, Project LIT Battle will continue to grow.  More book clubs, author visits and service projects are already in the works for next school year.

For more information on attending a book club or becoming a sponsor, follow @ProjectLITBHS on Twitter, or email Ms. Hagen at lhagen@cpsk12.org  You can also catch up with Ms. Hagen on her blog, Blue-Skyteaching.blogspot.com where she writes about teaching high school readers and writers.

Thank you, Ms. Hagen and AVID students, for sharing your wonderful program with our community!!