Spreading the Joy of Reading
Amanda Goetz's letter to Robert Cormier
Amanda Goetz, when she wrote this typewritten letter to Robert Cormier, was a freshman in high school. In this honest and well-written piece of correspondence, she attributes Cormier's novels as the factor that brought her back to reading. She related that, prior to reading his books, she had only read two books, period. She questions where the title for Tunes for Bears to Dance To came from.
Robert Cormier's response to Amanda Goetz
In this brief, but appreciative letter, Robert Cormier thanks Amanda for writing, expresses satisfaction that she has transformed herself into a reader, and offers an explanation for the title Tunes for Bears to Dance To, about which she inquired in her letter to him.
Alyssa O'Brien's letter to Robert Cormier
In this three-page, handwritten letter by 12-year-old Alyssa O'Brien, the reader is introduced to a thoughtful young woman who has read several of Robert Cormier's books twice or more in the interest of better understanding a book as time goes by. That she has a well-developed and agentive literate life is evident in her introduction where she identifies not only as a reader but as a writer. Furthermore, she carefully outlined a plan to introduce her friend, Chrissy, to Cormier's books. Her intent is to build Chrissy's readerly strength by prescribing an order - 8+1, and on finally ending with After The First Death at the very end.
Robert Cormier's response to Alyssa O'Brien
Robert Cormier wrote a rather long, two page letter in response to Alyssa O'Brien's letter to him. He encouraged her in her quest to be a writer and mentioned that he found her writing to be very clear. He was touched that she had read so many of his books, unusual for someone so young.
The Reading Agency in London works with libraries and publishers to spread the joy of reading and share their research on childhood reading habits. For a quick overview, read their media release "Reading for pleasure builds empathy and improves wellbeing."
Allowing reading for pleasure rather than turning reading into a chore or homework is the topic of Atlantic article "Can Reading Logs Ruin Reading for Kids?" by Erica Reischer.