Minds Alive: What & Why Gifted Students Read for Pleasure


Swanton, S. I. (1984). Minds Alive: What & Why Gifted Students Read for Pleasure. School Library Journal, 30(7), 99.

The School Library Journal article, “Mind’s Alive: What & Why Gifted Students Read for Pleasure,” takes a look at the material bright children read, and the correlation between early childhood public library use. Susan I. Swanton decided to survey kids at a county conference and came up with ten questions to explore the reading habits and history of gifted children. Later she also posed these same questions to a group of “regular” students in her class at school. She asked things like, “What type of books do you choose to read on your own for fun?” Mysteries, fiction, science fiction, and fantasy topped the list. She also asked where they obtained their books, who was their favorite author, did their parents read, how many books they owned, etc. etc.

She determined that the public library was a very big influence on the gifted children’s lives. Either their parents took them often, or they found it because they needed extra curricular stimulation. Swanton wrote that she believed the school libraries/schools themselves should cooperate with the public libraries. She lists a number of ways to bridge the gap between the two institutions, things like: field trips to the library, advertise the summer reading program, and make getting that first library card a really big thing.

This article is wonderful for my research because I am very interested in bringing the schools and their local public library together. I think that it can only be a good union that benefits the children.


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