They have no idea how lucky they are. The Maze Runner and Divergent! All the best of Tolkien! Two awesome Jon Krakauer non fiction books! Even graphic novels! And nowhere on the list: The Red Badge of Courage which defeated me soundly during my school years on two separate occasions.
I think I am not exaggerating too much to say that reading was the single most useful skill I learned in school. And not just because I ended up being a writer. With reading, I could learn everything else I needed to know. Being able to consume massive amounts of text and retain the knowledge got me through college, and to this day, if there’s something I need to know, because of reading, I’m confident I can go figure it out. All I need are some books. Maybe all the books…
I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here at See Jane Publish, when I say reading rocks, but I’m so glad that schools seem to be realizing that mastering the ability to read — no, more than that, finding the LOVE of reading — is more important than what is actually read.
At least to start with. Fine, fine, you can assign War and Peace later, if you think it’s really important, but do that after the kids are addicted to reading, when the words come quickly and smoothly and the brain is primed to convert those words to knowledge.
I remember struggling when I was a kid to sound out the names in The Fellowship of the Ring. But the story was so awesome I was willing to do the work. And what a great lesson to learn: Stick with it and you’ll go somewhere fantabulous. Books will take you there.
Do you remember the first book you read or that someone read to you? What books do you recommend for reluctant readers? Share in comments.