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Reluctant Readers

by Ron Jobe and Mary Dayton-Sakari

This book is for teachers of young students who scrupulously try to avoid books. The authors, teachers at the faculty of education at UBC, mention students with learning disabilities, but that’s not the focus of this guide.

Two short chapters at the beginning detail the characteristics of those who avoid reading. Then the authors dedicate three long chapters, more than 100 pages, to appropriate teacher and parent interventions. Since many students who don’t read seem to enjoy physical activity, several types of interactive approaches are recommended, such as pop-up books, cookbooks, online searches, and taped books. Providing books that zero in on the interest of today’s students is another important strategy, according to the authors. Kids are so keen on scary stories, natural disasters, and hot wheels that they’re often willing to overcome the obstacle of print. Because fads can change quickly, adults have to be prepared to keep up with the trends.

The text of Reluctant Readers is well organized and written in a lively style. Annotations about resources and links to additional material are most useful, and an extensive bibliography is designed to attract a wide audience of teachers and parents. Although special education teachers are the most likely to encounter reluctant readers, teachers and teacher-librarians will also welcome the many suggestions to motivate learners of all types.