CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 2 . . . . September 22, 2000
Teachers and parents can change kids' beliefs about themselves and thus their reading ability by changing how they behave toward each child. Low expectations lead to failure and inadequacy. Expect reluctant kids to be able to think just as well as good readers, instruct at a higher cognitive level, exibit confidence in their abilities, and praise their successes. Treat them as if they can, believe in them, and they will.Reluctant Readers is an excellent resource for any teacher, parent or librarian attempting to interest a less than enthusiastic child in books. The authors, Vancouver children's literature guru Ron Jobe and Victoria reading specialist Mary Dayton-Sakari, combine experience, research and teaching skills to make this a valuable reference tool. Special features include KidLinks (tactics such as sports cards or car models to lead kids to books), AuthorLinks (brief bios on favorite authors and their books), and ComputerLinks (directions to web sites and CD-ROMs).
Books for all ages and of all kinds are included - the authors have avoided the temptation to recommend only "literary novels" - and point out that reluctant readers often need books they can manipulate: lift-the-flap, pop-ups, puzzles or kits. They have a list of "hot topics": Scary to Survival, and Dogs to Dinosaurs, plus a full bibliography of over 1000 titles which also include non-print resources - CD-ROMs, taped books and videos.
With short paragraphs, specific headings, and good organization, this book is easily accessed, though not always stimulating reading. Some true-life accounts of reluctant readers add interest, and greater inclusion of personal stories would have added to the book's appeal. However, the scope, variety and contemporary qualities of this book make it an excellent classroom resource plus valuable reading for parents of reluctant readers of any age. Since the authors maintain that "reluctant readers are not born, they are made," this might just be the book to help unmake them.
Helen Norrie is an Instructor in Children's Literature at the University of Manitoba and writes a monthly review, "Children's Books," for the Winnipeg Free Press.
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