On December 6th, CMLE hosted the Reaching Reluctant Readers Event with author-librarian Patrick Jones, in St. Cloud, MN. The purpose of this event was to continue to support literacy within the CMLE region by providing additional insight as to why some youth are reluctant to read, along with potential tips and tricks to engage patrons/users. Thirty people registered for this event, and attendees included librarians, media specialists and paras, college professors, principals, reading teachers, and even some college students. The passion and buzz in the room was contagious; the goal was simple. We all wanted tips and best practices about how to encourage the joy and wonder of reading!
Patrick is considered a state-wide expert on teen reluctant readers. He presented from the perspectives of a librarian and as an author and offered fantastic suggestions that attendees could easily implement immediately. Jones identified why some youth elect not to read (aliteracy) even if reading was modeled by reader example(s.) He suggested that the act of reading can be perceived as a barrier to engaging with other youth. Some view reading as an anti-social, solitary and a sedentary act that poorly competes with today’s electronics. As an author, he talked about the physical appearance of books that tend to capture a reluctant reader’s attention; including larger fonts, extensive open space on each page and eye-catching covers. Jones also referred to the best writing style for this type of reader as straightforward, minimal characters and action packed. His concluding thought was to remind us that people who don’t read well sometimes actually fear books, which can feel foreign to us as avid readers. Jones reminded us that the main thing we need to do is to use strategies to reduce the fear!
As a take-away from this event, CMLE asked attendees about their personal reading experience and discussed favorite reluctant reader books during a round table rally. Topping the list were Diary of a Wimpy Kid (series) by Jeff Kinney, Speak by Laurie H. Anderson and American Born Chinese by Gene Yang.
If you attended this event, what was your favorite takeaway or “aha moment” ? Please share in the comments field!