Student Snippets


Outside the Box

Between working in a public library children's department, getting my master's at SLIS, and hanging around with my kids and their friends, I spend a lot of time talking about, thinking about and witnessing children reading.

For eager readers, there are limitless options for books to read, stories to write, and vocabulary to learn.

For more reluctant readers, it might help to think outside the box.  Lately, I've seen hesitant readers fall in love with the following:

  • Poetry.  Specifically, Shel Silverstein.  His poems are short enough to not be intimidating, and interesting enough to encourage kids to stick with challenging words.  Drawings help pull readers into the text.  And-- bonus! -- people of all ages find Shel Silverstein hilarious.
  • Graphic Novels.  Even though there are plenty of Early Readers with the same number of words on a page and pictures to help you follow the story, something about the graphic format really captures reluctant readers.  I love anything published by Toon, and, for older readers, Raina Telgemeier's fabulous books and El Deafo by Cece Bell.
  • Audio Books. Children can enjoy books they're not yet able to read, while building vocabulary, increasing their ability to follow a plot and engaging with characters.   
  • The Typewriter.  Some kids obsess over spelling, which can really slow down the writing process.  The novelty of an old-fashioned typewriter (if you can dig one up from your parent's basement like we did) can make writing fun again.  The lack of the computer's spellcheck and the pencil's hand cramp also helped!

What inspires and encourages the hesitant readers in your life?