May 20, 2014 Young Readers Center Hosts Symposium on Reluctant Readers

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Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or

Two writers of books for young people, a pediatrician and a school psychologist will participate in a moderated discussion about “reluctant readers,” children who are not reading as well as their peers. The event will be held on Thursday, June 5, from 10 a.m. until noon in the Mumford Room, located on the sixth floor of the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. This event, sponsored by the Library’s Young Readers Center, is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Taking part in the “Symposium on the Reluctant Reader” are writers Jarrett J. Krosoczka and Stephan Pastis, pediatrician Dr. Trude Haecker and school psychologist Claire Agard, Ph.D.

Both Krosoczka and Pastis have a particular interest in this population of youth and will each describe success stories in reaching reluctant readers using their literary characters. Haecker will discuss the issue in a medical context, and Agard will discuss the social and academic conflicts that reluctant readers face.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka is the author and illustrator of 10 Lunch Lady graphic novels and numerous popular picture books, including “Peanut Butter & Jellyfish” and “Punk Farm,” as well as the Platypus Police Squad middle-grade novels. Krosoczka is an advocate for creative kids and reluctant readers through his school visits and his weekly book-themed segment on SiriusXM's “Kids Place Live.” His TED Talk, on how he became an author, has been viewed nearly a million times online.

Stephan Pastis is the creator of the “Pearls Before Swine” comic strip and the Timmy Failure series of books for young readers. The first book in the series, “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made,” follows the exploits of a hapless young detective and his polar bear friend, Total, as they solve crimes in their neighborhood. The sequel, released in 2014, is “Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done.”

Dr. Trude Haecker is clinical associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the departmental patient-safety officer for the Ambulatory Care Network and medical director for international medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). She has been a practicing pediatrician for more than 25 years. In the fall of 1996, CHOP distributed books to young children during visits, to launch the CHOP Reach Out and Read Program. Reach Out and Read is a national pediatric literacy program that today comprises more than 5,000 primary-care sites throughout the country. Haecker is the medical director of the Reach Out and Read Program at CHOP and Reach Out and Read, Greater Philadelphia.

Claire Agard is a school psychologist, certified nationally and in the District of Columbia and Maryland. She has been a school psychologist for Prince George’s County Public Schools for 24 years. Her course of study included neurogenic language disorders, memory and learning, and neurophysiology in school settings. She has held many workshops on academic functioning and the biological bases of behavior.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

The Library’s Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through the Young Readers Center and the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit


PR 14-087
ISSN 0731-3527