Inspiring Reluctant Readers

It scares me when a Mum comes into the shop and picks up a two-inch thick book and says “is this book good for my reluctant reader?” Arhhh.

Having an 11year old reluctant reading son I have that market sorted, and I can tell you with the range of books available for the 6-11 year olds there is something for everyone.

Walker Books seem to be producing the best titles for this market. Danny Baker, Record Breaker, The World’s Biggest Bogey by Steve Hartley is one of my favourites. Apart from having a disgusting storyline, which both boys and girls love, it’s full of entertaining pictures that makes the reader giggle and want more.

Out with Captain Underpants, in with Fleabag Monkey Face is another Walker Book series that I would highly recommend.

My theory is “it doesn’t matter what they are reading, as long as they are reading.”

And if the School librarian and the parents can get pass the toilet humour, I can guarantee I could have your kids reading after trying one of my revolting books.

If one of my nauseating picks really don’t work, never fear, there are plenty more we can try.

Random House have renamed and re-jacketed the Charlie Small Journals. A series of nine books, which have my most amazing illustrations and really make the reader feel like they are Charlie Small.

There are three things I have learnt from children.

  1. The Jacket has to look stimulating
  2. The book can’t be too big, and
  3. The chapters can’t be too long.

Scholastic have that that market covered with the Geronimo Stilton series. Up to number 42, Geronimo takes the reader on a wild adventure and fills them up with non-fiction facts without the reader knowing they are being educated.

Ready to take the hesitant reader to the next level? Remember The Fonz from the TV Series Happy Days? Well Henry Winkler struggled with Dyslexia through his childhood and had written a series of books about Hank Zipzer, the World’s Greatest Underachiever. And I can guarantee they are just as cool as The Fonz.

Sharing is one of the most important lessons I have learnt from the reluctant reader. I explain to mums and dads that they must ask “What is happening in your book?” or read what they are reading so you can talk about it.

Read together, not always out loud. In my house we have a 30 minute reading time where ”you read yours and I’ll read mine”, then we talk about each other’s books.

There is nothing more exhilarating than sitting on the floor and reading a book with a child, or just talking about what book excites them.

My staff think I’m nuts some days, when I put on the weird voices and flap my arms around acting out a scene. You should try it, it makes you feel great.

by Julia Phillips – owner of Benny’s Books.


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