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Two female students

Podcast aims to get students reading

Looking for a book worth reading? A new student-produced book club podcast aims to introduce the campus community to the diverse range of books available from Yakima Valley College Library and Media Services.

Launched in the spring quarter, “Read! Leer! Wiwanik!” is meant to be both fun and educational said co-host and producer Kayla Vibbert, who is studying to become a librarian. Its first episodes featured the young adult mystery “One of Us is Lying” by Karen McManus and the historical fantasy novel “These Violent Delights” by Chloe Gong.

“I want students to get a sense of community out of the podcast,” Vibbert said. “We want to encourage more students to read and with many activities paused during COVID, I thought it would be fun to bring an activity online, like a book club.”

Producing a podcast is a first for Vibbert and co-host Hannah Neighbors, who graduates with an associate degree in business management in 2022.

“I’m actually learning quite a bit while doing this podcast,” Vibbert said. “There are so many different layers to books. I’ve been paying more attention as I read because I create a master sheet for the podcast filled with notes and questions that could get the conversation going and educate the listeners about the story at hand. As I continue to learn, I grow more excited for my future as a librarian.”

“These podcasts, with their engaging hosts, create an interest in books to help students increase reading comprehension and retention.” — Leslie Potter-Henderson, Director of Library Services

Podcast episodes are being released monthly, with five planned in the first season. Vibbert plans to continue “Read! Leer! Wiwanik!” after spring quarter though details for next academic year are still being determined.

Leslie Potter-Henderson, director of library services, said “Read! Leer! Wiwanik!” is one way to increase awareness that two-year college libraries play many roles in the learning process. Getting students reading by engaging them with non-academic texts is important, she noted, because research shows a strong correlation between reading skill and academic success.

“These podcasts, with their engaging hosts, create an interest in books to help students increase reading comprehension and retention,” she said. “Our literacy goal is to help students prepare for the college level reading they will do. And the way to read better? Read!”

Potter-Henderson noted “Read! Leer! Wiwanik!” is one of a number of outreach projects YVC’s library is doing. Other efforts include producing a video featuring a faculty member reading children’s stories in English and Spanish and, for Pride Month in June, a video of library staff reading poems from LGBQT+ poets.