Emily Sernaker


When a Book Club Lends More Than Just Books

The organization focuses on rehabilitation and communication skill building for male teenage inmates.

This story is part of an ongoing campaign called the Alphabet of Illiteracy. By using letters themselves—the foundation of reading and writing—Project Literacy examines the ways illiteracy underpins some of the greatest challenges facing the world today. Below, we explore the letter Y for “Young Offenders”.

For 16-year-old boys in prison, joining a book club may not seem all that appealing. “Club” sounds like something a kid would go to. Even though they technically are kids, these boys have been tried as adults. They’re locked up for serious crimes, sometimes in solitary confinement, and they’re often behind in many grade levels, maybe even functionally illiterate. What could a book club do for them anyway?

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