After fellow teacher librarian @SJbetteridge shared on Twitter today that she has started blogging at The Bookmarking Librarian, I came back to re-visit my neglected blog here. I found this blog post in Drafts that I had written back on May 4th!! My excuse – it was a busy Term 2 and I tend to put my blogging energy into our school library blog. I’ll try to be more consistent this term….
Might I say that something very exciting for our school happened after attending this event, but I can’t blog about that until August 12…
What a treat to attend the Finding the Enthusiastic Reader in Your Reluctant Reader evening offered by The Kids’ Bookshop last Thursday evening. It was such a valuable opportunity to listen to three highly respected and popular children’s authors – Sally Rippin, Felice Arena (@Fleech) and Michael Wagner (@wagstheauthor).
The Kids’ Bookshop began with some great tips for reluctant readers…
- Let reluctant readers choose their books – encourage and empower them to read all types of material not just books
- Tap into a reluctant reader’s interests – sport, music, lego, art, etc
- Book tie-in to films are a great lure for reluctant readers
- Graphic novels are great for visual readers, especially older reluctant readers
- Series based books make it easier to choose books – just choose the next one! Series also keep the momentum going for a reader
- The bind up strategy is a great idea for reluctant readers – all books together in a BIG book. Sense of achievement
- Develop readers beyond the reading experience – websites, blogs, author visits
The authors then shared valuable thoughts about reading and how they go about writing for reluctant readers in their books…
- Use an authentic voice and don’t talk down to the reader
- The importance of the reader ‘connecting’ with the book e. Garry Lyon helped “footy-ise” Specky Magee by providing the footy facts kids like to read
- Take the story off the page and bring books to life for you students using drama, book trailers, hashtags in Twitter about the book your class is reading etc
- Make the reluctant reader a participant reader – involve them in dramatising the text
- It’s not just the reluctant reader but what about the ‘distracted’ reader? Multi-tasking while reading and not in the moment
- As a writer you need to know what age you are inside – Michael is 10, Felice is 12 and Sally is 6. Their books reflect these ages
- When writing for boys be gritty not pretty, be witty, use sharp economical prose, write with intensity eg humour
- Maxx Rumble is his unconscious homage to Asterix that he loved as a kid – the puns and plays on words (Felice is the same in Farticus Maximus)
- The importance of screen-free time for kids to nurture creativity
- Billie B Brown is her rambunctious side and Jack is her quieter side. The ‘Hey Jack!’ books allow boys to explore their emotions
- Sally uses Dr Suess and Richard Scarry as models for her books – how to draw the child in and connect with them
- The importance of reading with your child and the bond you share
- Reading to your child is a gift you can give to them
- Don’t lose the oral tradition of storytelling – so powerful! See Sally’s “Story Peddlers” initiative bringing back the art of the roving storyteller with pop-up performances on a bike!
The new insights I have gained into these particular authors and their books are invaluable. They empower me in my role as a teacher librarian to help connect our readers to books that are the ‘right’ book for them to help them on their journey to become lifelong readers.
It was also a delight to meet both Felice and Michael face to face and not be limited to the 140 characters we often converse in on Twitter.