As avid readers, many of us do not know how to think as reluctant readers. We need to remember not to hand students the books we loved, but rather, books that speak to them and their world.
On pages 285-290, Beers gives concrete features of a book that reluctant readers may find appealing.
Thin books and short chapters
Some illustration, especially of the characters to assist in visualizationWell-defined characters
Plots with a lot of action that begins right away
White space- shows that the book can be finished quickly
Characters their age or only slightly older
Characters who face tough choices
Realistic language, including run-ons, fragments and slang
An easily defined conflict
Visual features help to create and reinforce meaning
Beyond the book formats, including magazines, graphic novels, puzzle magazines, etc.
Index, table of contents, Headings and Boldfaced Type- students can access information quickly and easily
Vocabulary defined when it is used
Wander-around books- texts that do not have to be read chronologicallyBiographies
There are a few tried and true ways to hook students into books. Reading aloud expressively invites the students to continue reading while they are on their own. “Read and Tease” can take the form of reading a few chapters out loud, or doing a brief “commercial” for the book. A librarian mentioned in the book created a “Good Books” box when a student asked her where all the good books in the library were, only to be followed up with a “More Good Books” box. The most individual way to get students hooked on reading is to get to know their interests well in order to be on the lookout for each student’s ideal texts. Beers includes a goldmine of resources for all sorts of reading, including review journals and online book lists.