Reaching Reluctant Young Readers

By (author) Rob Reid

Publication date:

17 March 2017

Length of book:

262 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442274402

Reaching Reluctant Young Readers features 150 middle-grade books. Each profiled title has the potential to hook the reluctant reader and lure them to read the entire book. To specifically encourage elementary and middle-school-age reluctant children to read, there is first a pitch to get the reader’s attention. That is followed by a short reading passage to “set the hook” and encourage the young person to read the rest of the book on their own. Further, the book contains several hundred additional recommended titles.

The books selected for this collection were chosen following the criteria of reluctant reader books created by the Quick Picks committee sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association. While these guidelines were designed for young adult books, they also work well for middle-grade books. The criteria include:

  • clear writing (no convoluted long sentences with sophisticated vocabulary),
  • high interest “hook” in the first few pages,
  • well-defined characters,
  • interesting plot, and
  • familiar themes.
[Reid] offers a wonderful resource for anyone working with reluctant (or not so reluctant) middle grade readers. The introduction describes the characteristics of reluctant readers, along with a list of book features that will appeal to these kids (for example, clear writing, a straightforward plot, relatable characters). Reid then presents 150 selections, grouped by genre. Each entry includes the book’s recommended grade range, its attention-grabbing opening sentence, a succinct booktalking script, a suggested excerpt to read aloud to a group, and several similar titles. Chapters on science fiction, fantasy, and animal fiction are typical for volumes on readers’ advisory, but the sections on ‘Humor Hybrid Chapter Books’ (e.g., Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Ursula Vernon’s Dragonbreath; Tom Watson’s Stick Dog), novels in verse (Margarita Engle’s Mountain Dog; K.A. Holt’s Rhyme Schemer), and mildly frightening horror (for instance, David Lubar’s The Gloomy Ghost; Dr. Roach’s Night of the Zombie Goldfish) add significant value.

Verdict: A definite purchase for youth services professional collections.