Over time, we’ve posted a thing or two about reluctant readers. Chances are, you’ve got someone in your life who either can’t really figure out what they enjoy reading, or just straight up refuse to try. In case you needed some inspiration today, here are some quotations from authors: some words of wisdom to help those who simply haven’t seen the bookish light.
I have a great deal of sympathy for reluctant readers because I was one. I would do anything to avoid reading. In my case, it wasn’t until I was 13 and discovered The Lord of the Rings that I learned to love reading.
Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all. We have an obligation not to bore our readers, but to make them need to turn the pages. One of the best cures for a reluctant reader, after all, is a tale they cannot stop themselves from reading.
One way my parents continued to get me really excited was reading aloud to me. A lot of books are just inherently fascinating on the printed page, but if you start to read them out loud, they became even more interesting. So, for many years when I was a child, at night my parents would read books to me. But then — and here’s the twist — they’d stop at a really suspenseful part and say, “Well, now it’s time for bed.” I’d whine, I’d plead, but they wouldn’t give in. They would put the book on the nightstand, place a flashlight on top of it, and say, “Remember, there is no reading after the lights go out.”
What could I do? They would close the door and go downstairs, and I would click on the light and keep on reading. The next day, the bookmark would be in an entirely different place, and my parents would pick up from there as if nothing had happened, and stop at the next suspenseful moment. There was always a notion that this kind of nocturnal reading was forbidden, but there was also the notion that they were giving me the tools I needed to keep on going.
Lemony Snicket (source)
My platform has been to reach reluctant readers. And one of the best ways I found to motivate them is to connect them with reading that interests them, to expand the definition of reading to include humor, science fiction/fantasy, nonfiction, graphic novels, wordless books, audio books and comic books.
High school teachers who want to get reluctant readers turned around need to give the students some say in the reading list. Make it collaborative: The students will feel ownership, and everyone will dig in.
If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.
It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations–something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.
Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.
George Bernard Shaw
You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.
I thought all of these quotations were inspiring in one way or another, and though some of them seem obvious (figure out what your reluctant reader child/friend/other relative/co-worker likes and bridge the gap from there) to some, things don’t always just click so easily.
Have you ever read or heard some inspiring words from authors on the subject of getting someone to read? Share any I might have missed in the comments below!