Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reluctant Readers

My nine-year-old has decided that all books are boring. This was a shocker. I knew she was starting but not finishing things, but she is a strong reader who polished off Zevin's Elsewhere in an evening.

We made a trip to the library to sign up for the summer reading program and stock up on books. She likes action adventure, spies, and magic (Anthony Horowitz, Lemony Snicket, and J.K. Rowling are her favorites.) She also needed to read biographies for her school. Those, of course, were too boring, at least until we found a biography of Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket.

In general, the best thing for reluctant readers is books that are:
  • Fast-paced
  • Of interest and

When I needed to read something last night, I looked at my pile and could not bear to pick up any of the very promising two inch thick books. There is a huge sense of accomplishment in finishing a book. Many nonfiction picture books are written on a 5th grade reading level, so those can be very successful for some students.

If you have a reluctant reader, work with the child. Make a trip to the library an event (we had ice cream, too). Listen to what they want to read, not what you think they should. I love Dan Gutman, but his My Weird School series seemed a bit low for my reader.

She finished two of them last night.

Also, ask for professional help! We talked to the librarians, because sometimes other people might have great suggestions, and I wanted my daughter to know that. We took home A Cricket in Times Square, Trumpet of the Swan, and The Trouble With Tuck. We'll see how those go.

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