Resources for Teaching Critical Thinking to Teens in a Juvenile Detention Center

I have recently agreed to teach information literacy and writing skills to teens at a local juvenile detention center. As a librarian at an academic university, teaching teens is a totally new prospect to me. So to help tackle this challenging prospect I reached out to the education faculty at my university as well as the Information Literacy Instruction listserv. Listed below are the awesome suggestions and resources that were recommended to me:

Suggested Activities

  • Debate
  • Ebonics exercise- students volunteer slang terms to research in the OED, Academic Search Complete, etc

Resources for Finding Activities 

  • MadLibs:

  • Story Starters:

  • Jeopardy (addressess antonyms, synonyms, prefixes, suffixes, etc.)

  • Spelling and voc. practice: (may be too easy):

  • Resources for literacy lesson plans and activities (Reading Rockets is a good source as well):


The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies interest groups


This is just a start to the list of awesome recommendations that I have received. I will keep you updated on any additions. Also if you have any suggestions please comment below!


  1. I’ll be very interested to follow your progress as I am an administrator in a juvenile state school.