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The 160 third, seventh, and eleventh-graders involved in this study agreed, almost unanimously, that reading was“important.” Participants cited the empowering benefits of reading as they justified this opinion. However, with regards to the enjoyment of reading, fewer middle and high school participants reported “liking” reading than their elementary counterparts and fewer reported reading in their free time.

One solution to this dilemma involves providing adolescent students with a context devoted solely to pleasure reading. In doing so, educators can look to an institution that boasts both an historical link to literate culture and current-day pop culture appeal: the coffeehouse. When combined with more traditional forms of literacy instruction, the coffeehouse provides a viable model for promoting both empowerment and pleasure in adolescent literacy learning.