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Beyond the Blue Podcast: Let Them Read Trash

By:    Published 11:48 am / January 17, 2012

Are books such as vampire novels, mysteries, and fantasy “real” literature? Jeffrey Wilhelm, professor of English Education, reviews some highlights from a current study about how passionate adolescent readers engage with non-traditional texts. He also examines the implications for parenting, instruction, reading programs and libraries in this week’s Beyond the Blue faculty podcast “Let Them Read Trash: The Power of Marginalized Texts.”

Listeners can access the website featuring a series of faculty podcasts at or go directly to Wilhelm’s presentation. Visitors can listen/watch podcasts directly on the site or link to iTunesU, where they can download all podcasts and subscribe to receive automatic downloads of new content whenever they open iTunes.

In this podcast, Wilhelm looks at non-traditional texts, such as graphic novels, manga, series books, video game novels, narrative video games, dystopian, vampire, horror, and fantasy narratives, and explores the deep psychological needs, satisfactions and uses these readers have for them, and the implications for psychological development, reading, and learning inside and outside of school. The findings of his study will be published in a forthcoming book from Scholastic Publishers tentatively entitled ‘Let Them Read Trash.’

Wilhelm is the founding director of the Maine Writing Project and the Boise State Writing Project, and works in local schools as part of a Virtual Professional Development Site Network. He has authored or co-authored 23 texts about literacy teaching and learning, and has won the two top research awards in English Education.

The Beyond the Blue website has been developed to showcase the expertise and innovative spirit that exists in many fields at Boise State. Known for its unique blue turf and nationally ranked football program, Boise State is demonstrating creativity beyond the blue in faculty podcasts intended to introduce a variety of topics to casual listeners.

New faculty podcasts are being added on a regular basis, including:

The website contains bonus video and editorial content about the university, including its growth, research initiatives and student life. A related collection of faculty interviews also is accessible from the Reader’s Corner radio show hosted by Boise State President Bob Kustra on Boise State Public Radio.