The Ways Librarians Inspire a Love of Books in Reluctant Readers
There are so many options available at the library, and it’s the librarian’s job to ensure that your child gets exactly the right book.
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There’s a well-known quote by Frank Serafini that goes, “There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.”
And yet, as a concerned parent, grandparent, or caregiver, how do you ensure that the “right book” gets into the hands of your reluctant reader? Why not start at the library? Expert assistance is always available from ever-helpful and energetic librarians and staff who are specially-trained to help readers (even reluctant ones) find the book that is right for them.
Sure, when you arrive at the library with your child, you may feel nervous or intimidated to talk to the librarians, but please allow me to put your mind at ease — the librarian’s main purpose is helping people! Whether the librarian is at a service desk or roaming among the books, they’ll want to interview you and your child to assess what the issue may be preventing reading success.
Does your child struggle with reading itself? If so, finding a book at the right reading level, with a compelling and age-appropriate story, may be the answer.
Does your child complain that she doesn’t really “like” to read and would rather be doing something else? Then, the librarian may recommend a non-fiction title that’s related to your child’s real-life interests.
Or, perhaps you have a child who enjoys reading, but limits what she reads based on particular authors or series? In this case, the librarian utilizes her vast knowledge of children’s literature to present different, yet still new and exciting books that your child will be anxious to read.
As part of your interaction the librarian may ask, for example, what was the last book your child enjoyed and why she liked it. This information will help the librarian choose a “read-alike” book to suit your child’s tastes. And, there’s more where that came from! There are so many options available at the library, and it’s the librarian’s job to ensure that your child gets exactly the right book. Librarians are at once, oracles, salespeople, guides, and educators — but all for a just cause: To inspire a love of reading.
Now, the librarian may take some seemingly-unorthodox approaches to finding the right book for your child. As the award-winning graphic novelist Art Spiegelman said, “Comics are the gateway drug to literacy.” But then again, the librarian may also present the options of audiobooks or large print books, in addition to comics and graphic novels. It may be possible that your child enjoys “being read to” but doesn’t really like to read on her own. Audiobooks are no less a story than their written counterparts! Many a voracious reader cut their teeth on audiobooks before discovering that they want to experience the story at their own pace and in their own voice.
So, if you’re concerned that your child may be a “reluctant reader,” why not head over to the library and give the librarians a chance. You may be surprised by the result. Librarians want nothing more than to ensure that each and every child gets the right book for her, enabling a lifelong love in reading.