Saturday, January 3, 2015

How to Re-Engage Reluctant Readers

The holidays are winding down, and, let's face it, many children are probably not very enthused about the coming week's return to school. Although one Christmas carol's lyrics mention that "...Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again," the parents of children who often struggle in school may be much less excited about classes resuming and the reading that will be required. What can a parent or teacher do to entice, engage and sustain the attention of an unfocused or reluctant reader?

1. Conduct an Interest Inventory.
First of all, it is imperative that you know the interests of the child or students in question. Most parents are very aware of their child's areas of interest. However, if you aren't aware of these, it is possible to do an Interest Inventory to learn which topics truly interest your child, teen or student(s). Please refer to the list of resources to follow here.

2. Why the Interest Inventory Is Valuable.
Once the interest inventory is completed by the child or the individual students, a parent or teacher will then have the needed (and very valuable) information to either direct the students to or gather the books for them on the topics of interest cited in those inventories. Reviewing the information once provided can be very revealing and give an important indication, for example, if non-fiction is preferred over fiction, if history books are of more interest than geography books or the like. The data collected can also serve as invaluable information on which to base future lesson plans, units of study or projects for specific groups of students or individual children, as may be appropriate.

3. The Interest Inventory Is Completed---Now What?
a. If budgets are low (or non-existent, as is sometimes the case), consider downloading FREE e-books for your child(ren) or student(s). For helpful resources of this type without cost, please visit our recent blog article entitled Best FREE e-Books to Engage Young Readers of ALL Ages. Please keep in mind that many e-books can be read on an existing PC or Mac computer, smartphone or tablet without the purchase of an additional device such as a Kindle, Nook or Kobo e-reader. Again, for more information on this, please refer to the resources to follow here.

b. Also, make good use of your school library, local public library or other community library for direct access to physical books on the topics presented in the completed interest inventories.

c. Consider grouping the books according to topic and placing each grouping in a specific area of your home or in a particular classroom location. Provide bean bag chairs and/or soft carpeting in these areas to more readily invite students or children to read---and with more comfort.

d. Teachers will observe that students with similar interests will gather in those areas where "their" books are stored. In so doing, not only will the children be more likely to initiate conversations with their peers about mutually-interesting topics and books, but they just might continue those discussions beyond the reading room or the classroom walls.

e. Finally, ensure that reluctant or struggling readers have the tools they need to read effectively and with success. To learn more about what kinds of low-tech AND digital tools are available for challenged readers in any age group, please visit

The result? Improved interest in reading, better communication as well as better developed reading and discussion skills and increased literacy will be only a few of the benefits of such an approach. We can't think of a better way to begin the NEW Year than to encourage and re-engage reluctant readers to pick up a book that interests them and READ. Can you?

FREE Interest Inventory Templates

Student Interest Inventory Questionnaire (from Scholastic Books for Grades: 2-7)

Student Interest Inventory Questionnaire (from Scholastic Books for Grades: 4-9)

Free Interest Inventory Test For High School Students
FREE printable interest inventories with related documents, manuals and e-books for high school students.

AREA 10 SCHOOL-TO-WORK: Career Interest and Skill Inventories (from Area 10 Schools in Iowa)

Collection of Interest Surveys (from Michigan City Area Schools)
We don't always know what we want, let alone need. An interest survey can help a teacher figure out what his or her students are thinking, what they may want or even need, and how they can best be helped. To find out more about yourself, take an interest survey. The surveys listed in this collection are either web-based or printable.

Compiled Documents for Reading---Vocational Interest Inventories

Other Resources

FREE Kindle Reading App---by
Follow the easy steps presented here to start reading on your tablet, smartphone, or computer:

FREE NOOK Reading App---by Barnes & Noble
Get the most incredible reading experience for your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch®. Access over 3 million books—including 1 million FREE titles—plus magazines, newspapers, comics, and more. Sample NOOK books FREE and try any newspaper or magazine FREE for 14 days.

FREE Kobo Reading App---by Kobo, Inc.
Download the FREE Kobo e-reader app to read whenever and wherever you want, and then choose from a catalog of more than 4 million of the world's best titles.

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas---by James Pierpont (published, 1857)
Reference for lyrics, "...Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again."

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