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What To Do With Reluctant Readers

While browsing around online I stumbled across this New York Times blog entry regarding reluctant readers.  Articles about assisting reluctant readers always catch my eye.  I wrote a paper on the topic while working on my Master of Library and Information Science degree at Wayne State University.  I strive each day at work to place the best books into the hands of all readers at Carlson High School.

I really enjoyed the video segment which includes one of my favorite authors, James Patterson.  I love his "Alex Cross" novels, and I also love that he has branched into young adult fiction.  I tend to agree with what Patterson had to say; one of the best ways to help reluctant readers is to allow choice when it comes to reading.  It seems most elementary aged children love reading.  They love library time at school and book fairs are a huge success.  For my kids, getting a new book is as almost as exciting as receiving any new toy.  Then, as children age something changes.  Reading time becomes more of forced titles, not a free choice for the reader to select.  By the time middle school starts there is very little choice, every required reading novel is selected by the teacher.  It is easy to figure out that if three straight required books were terrible, students start to assume all books are just as bad.

Thankfully, the Language Arts staff at my high school encourage free choice for one large project each trimester at Carlson High School.  Students may choose any book they like.  Unfortunately it may be too late, as many of the students tell me "they hate to read" as I help them search for a title.  I hope with some good recommendations I can win some of these reluctant readers back.  Do your children enjoy reading?  What have you done to keep them interested in reading?

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