By: Adam Sockel, OverDrive Social Media Specialist and co-host of the Professional Book Nerds podcast.
Recently on our Professional Book Nerds podcast, I sat down with two other members of Team OverDrive to share book recommendations and talk about our earliest memories of reading. In addition to talking about the books we’ve enjoyed recently, we also touched on a subject that many libraries and schools are acutely aware of. The fact that, traditionally, young males are the most difficult demographic to engage when it comes to reading.
To that end, we came up with some tips and tricks to capture those reluctant readers, including the things that instilled in us an enduring love of books:
Make reading an active part of their lives
This one is the most basic and something that is up to parents and guardians, but reminding them that reading in front of children is a simple way to make it a part of their daily lives. However, don’t stop there. Engage with kids. Read to them each night, have them read you a book while driving in the car or even have them read short news stories to you during breakfast. By having reading be a constant in their lives it becomes a part of their daily routine.
Show them characters they already love
If your reluctant young library card holders are obsessed with the Avengers, show them some Read-Alongs and comics that feature superheroes. Instead of having them sit in front of a television all day watching Nickelodeon, they can read books on their parents’ tablets that star their favorite cartoon characters.
Break the stigma that reading isn’t cool
This may seem obvious but young readers probably hear everyday that “reading is for nerds”. Reminding them that by reading they can go to any world or time they want and uncover new stories about their favorite characters is a simple but effective way to making them realize how wonderful reading is.
Promote the privacy of eBooks
A large number of reluctant readers feel embarrassed by the books they enjoy or the fact that they may read at a different level than their peers. By showing parents and their kids that eBooks keep the books they’re reading private you can give them peace of mind to explore the content they want.
To get more ideas for engaging reluctant readers as well and hear some of our stories about growing up around books check out our “Guys Read Too!” episode of the Professional Book Nerds.