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Reaching Reluctant Young Readers

Rob Reid

Reaching Reluctant Young Readers features 150 middle-grade books. Each profiled title has the potential to hook the reluctant reader and lure them to read the entire book. To specifically encourage elementary and middle-school-age reluctant children to read, there is first a pitch to get the reader’s attention. That is followed by a short reading passage to “set the hook” and encourage the young person to read the rest of the book on their own. Further, the book contains several hundred additional recommended titles.

The books selected for this collection were chosen following the criteria of reluctant reader books created by the Quick Picks committee sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association. While these guidelines were designed for young adult books, they also work well for middle-grade books. The criteria include:

  • clear writing (no convoluted long sentences with sophisticated vocabulary),
  • high interest “hook” in the first few pages,
  • well-defined characters,
  • interesting plot, and
  • familiar themes.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 262Size: 6 3/8 x 9 3/8
978-1-4422-7440-2 • Hardback • March 2017 • $78.00 • (£52.95)
978-1-4422-7441-9 • Paperback • March 2017 • $35.00 • (£23.95)
978-1-4422-7442-6 • eBook • March 2017 • $33.00 • (£22.95)
Reid’s Read-Alouds: Selections for Children and Teens, Reid’s Read-Alouds 2: Modern-Day Classics from C.S. Lewis to Lemony Snicket, Biographies to Read Aloud with Kids, and Silly Books to Read Aloud. Rob has written over 100 journal articles for American Libraries, School Library Journal, LibrarySparks magazine, and has an ongoing column in Book Links magazine titled the “Reid-Aloud Alert.”
Who Are the Reluctant Readers?
Criteria for Selecting the Profiled Books in This Collection
Tips on How to Use This Book
Chapter 1: Humor Hybrid Chapter Books
Chapter 2: Graphic Novels
Chapter 3: Fantasy
Chapter 4: Horror
Chapter 5: Science Fiction
Chapter 6: Superheroes (and Supervillains)
Chapter 7: Mystery & Espionage
Chapter 8: Outdoor Survival
Chapter 9: Animals
Chapter 10: Sports
Chapter 11: Other Fascinating People
Chapter 12: Novels-in-Verse
Chapter 13: Friends & Family
Chapter 14: School
Chapter 15: Books about Kids Who Hate to Read
Further Reading
[Reid] offers a wonderful resource for anyone working with reluctant (or not so reluctant) middle grade readers. The introduction describes the characteristics of reluctant readers, along with a list of book features that will appeal to these kids (for example, clear writing, a straightforward plot, relatable characters). Reid then presents 150 selections, grouped by genre. Each entry includes the book’s recommended grade range, its attention-grabbing opening sentence, a succinct booktalking script, a suggested excerpt to read aloud to a group, and several similar titles. Chapters on science fiction, fantasy, and animal fiction are typical for volumes on readers’ advisory, but the sections on ‘Humor Hybrid Chapter Books’ (e.g., Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Ursula Vernon’s Dragonbreath; Tom Watson’s Stick Dog), novels in verse (Margarita Engle’s Mountain Dog; K.A. Holt’s Rhyme Schemer), and mildly frightening horror (for instance, David Lubar’s The Gloomy Ghost; Dr. Roach’s Night of the Zombie Goldfish) add significant value.

Verdict: A definite purchase for youth services professional collections.

School Library Journal

Finally help is here for reluctant readers! Reid clearly understands how to get all types of readers excited about books, but his skill at guiding skeptical readers to just the right books is remarkable. This volume is everything teachers and librarians need, including150 high-interest titles by specific genre and specific ways to pitch the books, to help the most reluctant readers find joy in reading.
Pat R. Scales, author of "Defending Frequently Challenged Young Adult Books: A Handbook for Librarians and Educators"

Call them struggling readers, reluctant readers, aliterates, or just plain kids; Rob Reid remains the go-to guy for helping them become lifelong readers. His new work gives not just great lists of, and pitches for, engaging new books, but a real blueprint for how anyone can reach these kids with the magic of reading. A must read for parents, teachers, and librarians.
Michael Sullivan, Author of "Raising Boy Readers"

Robert Reid has written a veritable bible for how to reach reluctant young readers. Each chapter explores a different genre to suit the tastes of every possible child and gives a detailed overview of the best books of each genre that will turn reluctant readers into avid readers. Mr. Reid has really done his research and knows the middle-grade compendium better than the most knowledgable librarians. An indispensable tool for teachers, principals, and parents, Reaching Reluctant Young Readers is sure to be a staple in every school and home around the world.
Derek Taylor Kent, author of the "Scary School" series