Friday, February 22, 2013

Reluctant Readers and the Rotary

And the 5th test- Will it be FUN?
Today, after one of 2013's few (and worst) snowstorms, I was up at six am and out the door into a road IDOT had not yet cleared because of a commitment I made months ago.  It seemed safe back then to schedule my visit to talk to the Sunrise Rotary club of Mt. Prospect/Arlington Heights near the end of February. Even if I was due to speak at 7:30. In the morning. After all, we had 50 degrees in January.

And a snowstorm today.

The good news is, I found the place. The better news, I got there alive and without an accident, because near misses do not count, even when an attempt to stop sends you sliding halfway into another lane and leaves you (and probably the other driver too) on the verge of a heart attack.
Breakfast was great, the company was wonderful, and I got to talk on one of my favorite subject, how we adults can help bring reluctant readers back to books. I say back, because almost all preschoolers love books. But somehow, by adolescence, an alarming number get branded as reluctant or at-risk readers. I shared statistics with the Rotarians, along with suggestions for ways to reverse this, including modeling reading to adolescents and teens; allowing some "non traditional" reading material including graphic novels, and audio books; and encouraging then to write (almost everyone wants to tell a story, especially when it won't be graded!!)

Because of the topic, I had a representative from a local adult literacy group in the audience, and several teachers. I gave away complimentary copies of both Pull and Die Trying to them. The adult literacy specialist present thought the short stories in Die Trying would appeal to her readers.

Best of all, they are talking about having me back again. Next time in the fall.

I would love to hear if any of you have experiences with reluctant readers, or ideas about turning them on to books.

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