Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reluctant Readers No More – Part 2

Last post I talked about how to turn your children into passionate readers, but what do you do if they've already become reluctant readers. I'm sure there are a wide variety of opinions on this, but I think many kids become reluctant readers because they haven’t yet been introduced to books that are interesting to them or they are forced (in school or at home) to read books that are boring to them . Often, so-called great literature or classics aren't that interesting to young readers. Even your Newbery winners at times leave a lot to be desired. As a result, if the only books that a child is encouraged to read are the ones that don't interest them, they make the assumption that all books are boring or not exciting.

However, there are plenty of books available that help reluctant readers overcome this mindset. I think books that break the so-called norm can help the reluctant reader become an interested reader. I think books like Junie B. Jones, Captain Underpants, Time Warp Trio, Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid all fall in this category of books that break the norm. On part 1 of this blog topic, PragmaticMom shared in the comments a link to some of her Favorite Books for Reluctant Boy Readers Grades 3-5th. I think it's interesting that many books on her list are some that break the norm, but then she also has a mix of classics and newbery winners.

For some reluctant readers it might be a simple matter of finding the right genre, i.e. fantasy, SF, Horror, action thrillers, sports, educational, etc. Harry Potter opened up the fantasy world to many readers, as well as just the reading world in general. However, for some young readers Harry Potter seems too long. Overall length of a book can be a major obstacle. They look at how many pages are in it and it just seems too overwhelming. In those cases, shorter can be better.

I think the main key is to find books that interest the reader. Every reader is different, but there are plenty of book choices out there to turn your reluctant readers into passionate readers.

What are your suggestions for turning reluctant readers into passionate readers? What books or strategies do you recommend?

1 comment:

  1. As a part-time reading tutor, I work with reluctant readers--I think of them as picky readers. My strategies are similar to those I use with my daughter who is a voracious reader but a picky eater.

    For example, there's the just-one-bite strategy. Ask the child to read the entire first chapter of a book. If she doesn't like it, she gets to pick a different book and read the first chapter. Continue until she finds a book that makes her want to keep reading. One of the requirements to move on to another book is being able to state specifically what she doesn't like about the story. That allows her to practice "book talk" and also helps me pick the next book.