E loves to read and he has put together this list of his recommendations for his fellow 8-10 year-olds. He has read each of these books again and again. The Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series are his “go-to” reads when we ask him to bring a book along one one of our trips, but I often find him buried in any of these books during our times at home or on the tram.
A note from me, the parent:
I noticed that a lot of what he selected were books in a series. Series books are a great way to get reluctant readers to want to read. Being a reluctant reader is a lot like being an introvert. Introverts expend a lot of energy in getting to know people. For some people it takes a lot of energy to get into a book; to decipher the author’s style of writing; to learn who the characters are. Once a reluctant reader finds a book that speaks to them or characters they can really relate to and they want to / feel able to read more.
As they practice their reading skills it takes less energy to get into the next book and then the next. This is one reason The Magic Treehouse books are so popular among first and second graders. There are about 60 of them now and they are fun, short adventures that speak to both boys and girls.
Still can’t get your reluctant reader into a book? Here’s a few things you can do:
1) Try books on CD. Listening takes less work that reading. Your local library will have lots to chose from. You can pop it on in the car while you’re running errands with them. Once they know the story, hand them the book and have them try the first 20 pages.
2) Hand them some comic books. Comics have dialogue, exposition, and loads of brilliantly drawn scenarios. Try TinTin, Teen Titans GO!, or Disney comics.
3) Read to them. For reluctant or beginning readers having them sit next to you and look at the words over your shoulder gives them practice reading the words without the pressure of saying them out loud. Or you can just read out loud while they play. Having them listen while you read reduces the energy it takes for them to become invested in the story. Once they are invested they will often take over reading it themselves.
4) Set time aside to read for yourself. About once a week we have SQUIRT. Super-Quiet Uninterrupted Individual Reading Time. We sit down with a book or the Kindle and we read by ourselves. Children emulate their parents. By taking the time to read you are demonstrating that reading is important and enjoyable. (Do you have a pre-reader? Before H could read we would have him take a “quiet time break” by listening to a book on CD while drawing pictures or playing quietly next to you while you read.)
5) Get involved in the summer reading program at your local library. Some kids really thrive on competition. Some thrive on group activities. Your library’s summer reading program provides both of these and makes the library one of those places your child routinely wants to be.
Summer is a wonderful time for exploration of the outdoors and of the imagination. Books will help to feed the imagination and fuel outdoor play. E and I hope that you enjoy his favorite books as much as we have.