Today, LitPick is chatting with one of our underwriters, Lori! She is one of the adults who helps read and evaluate the student reviews found on our website, www.litpick.com. Our volunteers are committed men and women who can evaluate reviews within a few days of being notified. We are so grateful for their support! :) If you are interested in helping foster a lifelong love of learning in children and teens, contact Tynea Lewis at email@example.com.
What do you do as a LitPick underwriter?
As a LitPick underwriter, I read, edit, and approve reviews submitted by our student readers. It typically takes between ten and thirty minutes. It is a very easy and rewarding way to connect with student readers and share a love of reading! My personal mission as an underwriter is to find a way to challenge each reviewer to continue stretching and growing their skills. Sometimes, our reviewers are so stellar that it’s is a challenge for me! I do believe that everyone has the potential for growth, and I’m honored to be a part of this process. I am often blown away by the skills our reviewers show in their vocabulary and sentence structure, and it brings a smile to my face when I see a review that I think must be written by an older high school kid, only to see it was written by a middle school student.
Why did you decide to be a LitPick underwriter?
I used to be the librarian for a middle school. I was always looking for ways that students could explore reading and literacy-related projects outside of school to expand their reach into the world around them. After searching online for a long time, I found LitPick (at the time, it was known as Flamingnet.com). I started emailing with the organizers to see how I could get my students involved as a group. The more I learned about the organization, the more I loved it! I began as a sponsor for my students. I couldn't believe how easy the process was for both the students and the underwriters! After working with LitPick for about five years, I feel as though the group of organizers and staff are my old friends, although we have never met!
What is the best part of being a LitPick underwriter?
The most rewarding part of underwriting by far is being able to share a conversation about reading with a young person. I am a lifelong reader, and I work in education – being able to share both of these passions at once is a dream come true for me! Reviewing through LitPick is a fantastic way for students to develop lifelong communication skills. Watching reviewers hone their grammar, vocabulary and style as they critique professional writers seems like such a natural match for me. Not only do students sharpen their skills, it allows their voices to be heard by their peers and often authors. It is empowering for the reviewer and provides such valuable feedback to authors directly from their fan base.
What types of books do you like to read?
I like books that have covers and pages – and electronic versions too. I am not too discriminating when it comes to reading. I have trouble going into a library for the opposite reason many people do. It isn't that I can't find a book to read; rather, it is that I am overwhelmed by too many choices! I would say my favorite genre is science fiction. This is something I learned about myself that surprised me! I always had thought of sci-fi as robots and space monsters, which is not my thing. But dystopian societies and real-life scenarios with a creepy twist are absolutely my thing! I also love series, because one book is like only being able to wave at someone passing by. I need more time to get to know the characters through and through, and I feel like series give me more time with them. A few of my favorites are the Unwind series and the Skinjacker Trilogy, both by Neal Shusterman, and the Life as We Knew It series, by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
What do you do when you aren’t doing your LitPick underwriter duties?
I work as a high school secretary and as an assistant to the zoning administrator. I help people by maintaining records and finding creative ways to assist others in reaching their goals. I love doing anything that involves problem solving, a skill that I strongly believe has been in great part from reading! I also enjoy hiking, baking, gardening, spending time with my husband and three sons.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
I truly believe that time spent reading is never wasted. It is the best and easiest way to explore everything around us. Through books we can travel, discover, and learn. When I was little, I was told that if I could read, I could do anything. As an adult, I have discovered that it is true.
Thanks for spending six minutes with us, Lori! You have a great taste in books – Neal Shusterman is amazing. :) For more information about how to become a LitPick underwriter, contact Tynea Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.