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Adults learning English or learning to read for the first time now have a new option to help their language development.

North Central Regional Library has launched a new program called Spark Reads that offers a collection of easy readers for adults.

The idea grew from a conversation between Anni Ponder, NCRL’s bilingual outreach specialist, and Anwen Cartwright, program director for the Literacy
Council of Chelan and Douglas Counties..

“I asked her what was one thing she’d really like to see the library offer, and she said simplified books for adults,” Ponder said. “They didn’t like
having to send adults to the library to check out books in the children’s department about puppies and kittens.”

The library district now offers 73 titles in the new collection that cover several genres, including classics, western, mystery, romance, and nonfiction.

The books are at Wenatchee Public Library but can be requested from any of the 30 library branches in the district.

If the pilot project is found to be useful, it could be expanded to have collections at other libraries, Ponder said.

Currently the books are all in English, but other languages may be added in the future as well, she added.

Aïda Bounds, a language tutor in Wenatchee, is already sending her students to check out the books. She said many of her students are literate in their
own language — some even have master’s degrees — and they need something more interesting than beginning children’s books to read.

“I think this is a super idea!” she added.

Cartwright said most of the students who are learning English or learning to read for the first time through the Literacy Council have a very low reading

“I’ve just had a really hard time finding materials for them to read that are interesting and at their appropriate level,” she said. “Intellectually,
they want to read something adult like, but they can’t. So it’s very frustrating for them. If you don’t have something interesting to read, you
aren’t very motivated to keep going. Now they have a new option and a really obvious place to go — the library! There is a dedicated section,
and they can find a good selection of books. I’m really excited about the new collection.”




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