Reaching reluctant readers
By Megan on March 5th, 2013
I recently came across this blog post, written by guest blogger Jeff Gunhus on the Nerdy Book Club blog. Jeff tells the story of how his son was labeled a reluctant reader by his teacher. Apparently, despite the fact that he got good grades and loved school, reading was an activity he took on begrudgingly, to his father’s despair. So, in an effort to get his son in a reading routine, he started an Early Morning Book Club. Naturally, his son was not pleased about waking up hours before school to read, but after a few weeks of moaning and groaning and dreading this daily ritual, Jeff noticed his son began to look forward to reading. It certainly didn’t happen over night, but eventually he developed a positive attitude about books.
This got me thinking about the kids I know who are less than thrilled about reading. In fact, while I love to read and always have, I remember there being times when I put up a fight about picking up a book. I thought I’d share a story about my parents’ clever tactic to get my siblings and I reading, and ask OOMers if they have any similar stories to share.
Growing up, my siblings and I had this effortlessly cool babysitter named Kazeera. Every time she came over, we never wanted her to leave. She did these amazing character impressions that made us laugh and laugh, concocted delicious ice cream sundaes with what seemed like the entire contents of our refrigerator, and let us play freeze dance on my parents bed (I still don’t think they know this…) My parents caught on quickly to our idolization of Kazeera and harnessed her cool factor for good: they asked her to read to us. So, whenever she was babysitting us, as a part of our routine before bed (maybe between the ice-cream sundae-making and freeze dance), she’d pull out a book and of course, we were all ears. Well played, mom and dad.
Tyler’s parents let him stay up late, but only if he was reading. “I remember when my parents told me I could stay awake past my bedtime, if I was reading. I thought that was so cool! It was definitely motivating and made reading seems like something special.”
Morgan’s brother was a reluctant reader growing up. “Literally the only books that he would voluntarily pick up were Goosebumps books,” said Morgan. “So when he did pick them up, he was allowed to read them anywhere, anytime — from the dinner table, whether it was past his bedtime, etc. I think that’s great, because it starts to make reading feel like a treat rather than a punishment.”
Lauren used to babysit a reluctant reader. “I had a really sneaky method of getting him to read,” Lauren said. “I’d show him a movie I knew he’d enjoy that was based on a book. If he loved the movie, I’d let him know it was based on a much cooler book and there’s actually way more to the story. I’d offer to read the book to/with him, always leaving off at a cliff hanger in hopes he’d pick up the books on his own to find out what happened next. It took awhile before I got him to pick up to the books on his own. But my methods did have some success, he’d always ask me with in the first five minutes of me showing up to baby sit, to pick up where the book left off.”
What about you? Do you have a reluctant reader in your life? How do you get him or her excited about reading?
image via mr.machnology
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