Guiding Reluctant Readers (with Book Suggestions) No ratings yet.

Getting Reluctant Readers Loving Books

While your child may be one of the reluctant readers, remember that we were created to love a story.

This means there’s hope for your sweet child, friend!

We know reading matters because it works our brain, keeping it active and sharp.

It also helps in literally every other form of learning, so it’s a crucial part of education.

In a lot of ways, schools today aren’t set up for lifelong readers.

But that’s okay because with a few ideas I’ll share here, you’ll be able to fix that in no time.

Lead by Example

What if, as the parent, you’re not a reader?

I’d like to say that’s okay, and in some ways it is, but then again…monkey see monkey do is a real thing.

What would you like to learn more about?

What kinds of movies do you tend to enjoy?

Get to the Library

Head to the library with your child and let them see your vulnerability with the librarian.

Show your child how you’ll go about adding in reading to your life. It will go a long way, I promise.

What if you’re reading all the time and your child could care less?

First, let me say you’re on the right track. Keep it up. Openly read in the same space where they are.

Talk to them about what you’re enjoying or learning in your current read.

Reading is meant to be social, so bringing them into your world will be huge for their budding desire to read.

Read to Them

No matter their age, read aloud.

My boys were read to from the womb, but their ornery little selves would’ve rather body slammed each other most of the time.

This former Reading teacher’s heart was broken.

How couldn’t they love it like me?

Mama Took Action!

I started reading books with adventure and ones that were funny right there in the middle of their play.

They acted like they weren’t listening, but over time guess what happened?

Little bottoms scooted in close. Snuggles happened.

They started to love stories.

If you’re wondering if I felt like a lunatic reading aloud to the air at first, yes. Yes, I did.

But it was totally worth it.

Encourage Ownership

Creating your child’s bedroom home library is huge.

They can set up a little bookshelf in a special space, and they are now owners of books!

This is one reason why I love doing the book trail to the tree at Christmas.

Our boys get most of their books from the library, but they have special books in their rooms and they read them over and over and over again!

Leave Books Open Where they Eat

If your kids are like mine, they’re non-stop.

Eating is the only stopping point.

So, with the suggestion from a friend, I left picture books open to the most exciting pages on the table.

It wasn’t but minutes until they were pushing the book toward me asking me to tell them what was going on in the fun pictures.

Pick Fun Books

To my chagrin, my boys could’ve cared less about Laura Ingalls Wilder.

They didn’t want to hear the stories I was excited to read to them…yet.

I had to look hard for things that interested them, but with one caveat: it had to have a good plot.

Look, no one wants to listen to a story if it doesn’t have some twists and turns. It’s just the way we’re made.

Some books that got their interest right away are still our favorites to reread today.

  1. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt

This book cracks me up. My kids, too. Even my husband, who prefers to read about his Ohio State Buckeye solely can get into this one. Heads up: your reluctant readers may start calling you a fuzzy little butt. You’ve been warned.

Solid action steps to take with reluctant readers and plenty of book suggestions to get your child on the way to loving books!

2. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

The silliness of this one gave us inside jokes about “tummy troubles,” and I never knew if, during a dinner of tacos, one kid would bite into a spicy taco and set the house ablaze.

There’s also a sequel to this one, which builds excitement for reading, a key to lifelong love of stories!

If your family likes these books, you’ll also like the other books by Adam Rubin like Those Darn Squirrels (and sequels) and Robosauce!

Solid action steps to take with reluctant readers and plenty of book suggestions to get your child on the way to loving books!

3. Dog Man by Dave Pilkey

I vividly remember laughing out loud along with my seven-year-old on the very first page of this book.

That was it. He was hooked.

If your new or reluctant readers love graphic novels, take heart.

It’s a story. It’s text. I may not be the next great American novel, but they’re doing it.

They’re feeling successful.

It matters! Encourage it!

Don’t Stop Here!

This is a series, which was the best of all. Once he had the first one, we were right back at the library grabbing the next one just like it.

This gave me the opportunity to show him other graphic novels like Lunch Lady.

It wasn’t too long (maybe a year?) until those graphic novels weren’t quite enough.

He realized he’d get more meat from a deeper novel.

Solid action steps to take with reluctant readers and plenty of book suggestions to get your child on the way to loving books!

4. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

A smaller read aloud with pictures every few pages will be a great step up from the graphic novels.

Please don’t discredit pictures in books.

Until our children can solidify their visualization skills, books with pictures are so helpful to keep interest .

How to Use the Pictures

Use these pictures to your benefit!

Let them look over the picture. Notice things about them alongside your child. Show them you like pictures, too and add in how they’re helping you understand the story.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a great one because it’s got lots of twists and turns and your child will also be able to feel emotion for a main character.

Roald Dahl is a great one, too because you’ll be able to read other famous books of his like The Witches and James and the Giant Peach.

You can talk about how the same author shows his special author’s craft throughout his books and bonus fun: they’ve got movies!

Solid action steps to take with reluctant readers and plenty of book suggestions to get your child on the way to loving books!

5. The Prince Warriors by Priscilla Shirer

When your former reluctant readers are ready to tackle his or her own book, Priscilla Shirer writes a book series that my son couldn’t put down.

Better yet, he was pushing them on me the second he’d finish, and held me accountable big time!

“Mama, I’m half way through the second one. Are you almost done with the first?”

He shared this book series with his best buddy (who also loved them), and he was off and running.

Solid action steps to take with reluctant readers and plenty of book suggestions to get your child on the way to loving books!

In the End

We worked so hard for it.

A full-blown, book-loving kid.

Who still plays the heck out of Minecraft and climbs trees and splashes in creeks.

Whose math, social studies, and science skills improved because of the gradual years of gently guiding him into the love of reading.

Solid action steps to take with reluctant readers and plenty of book suggestions to get your child on the way to loving books!

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Multi-Age Writing No ratings yet.

Multi-age writing
One way to teach one text for writing across multiple ages in homeschool or during summer while you're trying to stop gaps from happening is easy!
How to teach multiple ages writing, grammar, and punctuation in one simple text.

Multi-Age Writing

In homeschool or during the summer for public and private school kids, we’re faced with multiple ages learning and writing around one table.

How do we make it fit without making a new lesson for every kid?

One of the most successful writing times in our home is when use one text and stretch it to fit the ages and learning levels of both boys (ages 6 -kindergarten and 8-third grade).

Showcase the Text

The first step is to write out the text on something big.

We like to use our chalkboard.

I chose the lead of a book for this particular lesson.

Just the first few sentences of a book my son loved called A Cricket in Times Square worked well to analyze some basic reading points and start a new story in our own Writer’s Notebooks.

Read the Text Multiple Times

The oldest read the text aloud, so I could get a sample of where he was at in his fluency.

I then read it aloud again as he followed along, so he could hear how it should sound.

We can talk about how his voice should sound both in his mind and aloud as he reads when we do this.

For my emerging reader, I put my finger under each word as I read, so he could be immersed in words new and already known.

Stopping to let him read the words he’s already memorized to help me out makes him feel like a big helper, too.

Find What’s Right, Not What’s Wrong!

In Everyday Editing by Jeff Anderson, he teaches that the old idea of fixing up broken sentences like we experienced in school is the backward way of learning.

I found this to be a much better way to teach my 8th graders years ago, and I still find it to be true with my boys in homeschool.

For today, A Cricket in Times Square was the text, making George Selden what we call our “mentor.”

Someone who is published.

A great writer we can learn from.

Just like how every major leaguer once watched his favorite MLB star swing a bat over and again, we watch our authors.

What do they do that’s amazing?

How can we create that in our own writing?

I asked each boy specific questions.

For my oldest I asked about possessive nouns. Why is this apostrophe different than a contraction? Why did Seldon need it here?

What do words like, “Times Square, abandoned drain pipe, and subway” give the reader in the beginning of the book?

For my youngest, I asked questions like, “What did Seldon do at the start of every sentence?”

What did he do when he was finishing his sentence?

Why didn’t he use an exclamation point or question mark instead?”

Link it to a Writing Piece

For my youngest, I grabbed one of his blank books.

If you don’t have these stock-piled somewhere in your learning space, grab them fast! Your kids will LOVE becoming authors in their own bound books to put on the shelf!

His mission was to draw the cat and mouse he visualized in his mind’s eye as we read.

He told me what they were doing, and we worked together to write simple sentences to help tell his own version of the story.

It was fun to see how his mind saw the words we just read.

While my six-year-old started drawing, my eight-year-old and I looked at the key pieces of the text we were examining.

“What are the words ‘mouse and Mario?'”


“You get to create two characters!”

My little non-writer panicked.

“Let’s play a game to decide. I’ll name a kind of character, and you name a kind of character on the count of three. No matter what kind they are, you’ll make them both a part of your story. Even if they don’t seem to go together. We’ll make it fun! Got it? One…two…three!”

He said inventor. I said troll.

“What words did we say were giving us setting?”

He answered the words he saw on the board from the text. I circled them.

“Okay, let’s choose your own setting. You pick the specific kind of place, and I’ll choose the big location. One…two…three!”

He chose an underground laboratory. I chose Alaska. He changed it to an underground Alaskan ice lab where an inventor creates a troll that helps him make his creations.

At this point, he was excited and ready to go!

Keep It Small

One way to keep your writers loving the art of writing, is keeping your lessons and the amount they write small.

Realizing it didn’t all have to happen today (and shouldn’t) was one of the best things that happened to me as a teacher.

Just write this starting point.

Just get going.

Tomorrow you can look at how an author crafts his characters. Then later in the week, his plot, another day his problems, next week his solutions, and even later his conclusions.

We can slowly investigate writing with our author’s eye looking for the genius behind our favorite authors.

But what’s best…we can be successful because they showed us how.


Writing should be fun and exciting!

In this house, I have one who likes to write and one who really really does not.

So, whenever we finish even one small part of writing, we read it aloud to everyone.

We celebrate.


Do immediate quick fixes (editing) because that’s what great authors do.

Read, we write, and we do it all together.

One former English teacher, one kid who can’t read yet, and one kid who’s an avid reader but avoids writing like the plague.

We enjoy this process.

In its beauty and craft, it can be shaped, molded, and shared.

No matter what age. What interest. What ability.

Writing is for everyone.

A way to teach one text for writing across multiple ages in homeschool or during summer while you're trying to stop gaps from happening is easy!

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