Identifying and Encouraging Reluctant Readers in Middle School
Would your child ever opt to pick up a book when he could be playing video games, shooting hoops, or text messaging instead? Librarians, teachers, and authors offer advice.
What You Need to Know
Reluctant readers tend to fall into one of three categories:
- learning disabilities
- have never chosen their own books
- don't have adequate access to books
Many lifelong habits, including reading, form during middle school years. If your child sees reading only as a school-induced chore and never experiences reading for his own pleasure, reading will never become one of those lifelong habits.
How You Can Help
- Understand your reluctant reader's mindset. If there's one particular book your child has clung to, find books that are similar in nature – subject matter, reading level and tone – to incite further reading.
- Choose paperback fiction. One middle school librarian observed that middle-schoolers tend to feel like paperback versions are shorter than hardbound books. Plus, they're less expensive.
- Choose books with “reader appeal” – humor, well-defined characters, fast-paced plot, concise chapters, suitable text, kid relevance, unique presentation, and visual appeal tend to pass the picky-reader test. Harry Potter, for instance, is a hit for a reason.
- The Dangerous Book for Boys by Hal Iggulden
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
- The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
- Ricky Rocotta's Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey
- Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
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