Tips & Tricks to Motivate Readers

20 Jul

Does identifying children as reluctant readers lead them to become more reluctant? Because if you hear something said about yourself enough, you’ll start believing it – even if it isn’t true. I know there are kids that don’t necessarily like to read or would choose to read from a variety of other activities.

In the library, “reluctant” readers are my favorite type of readers – the kids who are going to make you work that much harder to find a title that fits them perfectly. They won’t take just anything, you can’t give them the latest bestseller or the most popular book you happen to have actually checked in on your bookshelf.

These are the kids that take some time getting to know – what do they enjoy doing, what tv or video games do they like watch and play, their favorite genre (if they know) and what would make them open up a book and sit down to read it.

The best thing you can do is think outside the box, grab audiobooks, different formats (graphic novels, novels in verse, illustrated chapter books, magazines, etc.), and a large variety of titles – not too many to scare them, but enough that if they don’t like one book, they have others to choose from. And most importantly, don’t force reading as if it’s a chore, show kids that you’re willing to spend time reading and enjoy it and soon they  might crack open a book as well.

I just read an interesting Twitter conversation about this topic that started on author, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Twitter feed. Other librarians and teachers throughout a number of other ways to describe “reluctant readers” with words like:

  • selective
  • developing
  • high-taste

But my all-time favorite is undiscovered. Think about how powerful that sounds… readers who just haven’t found that just-right book yet. Undiscovered readers need support from the adults in their life, especially those well-read adults who can suggest titles that might just become the key that opens the door to the reading world.

What are your thoughts? How do you reach undiscovered readers and any general titles that are your first go-to suggestions for undiscovered readers?


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