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Do you have a reluctant reader at your house?

These come in two varieties. The slow-to-catch on reader and the good reader who never picks up a book unless it’s a school assignment.

The treatment for both kinds of Reluctant Readers is…duh!…READING. This means parents have to find books that interest the child.

A dear friend, retired teacher Jacquie McTaggart, has written a book designed primarily for teachers but parents can learn a lot from it. (If They Don’t Learn The Way You Teach…Teach The Way They Learn available at

Jacquie points out that, because boys and girls respond to different stimuli, boys complain reading is boring, it’s for girls, or they can’t find any books they like. So, if the boys aren’t getting hooked, you have to change your bait.

The smellier the better! She suggests, after making sure your child knows the language they are about to use when they read the book is not always appropriate… they can laugh at home but cannot use the words in public…you try “smelly” books like Walter the Farting Dog by Kotzwinkle and Murray or Dog Breath by Pilkey or The Gas We Pass by Cho or one about artsy farts I plan to read myself called Little Lord Farting Boy by Turdlow and Argoff.

Obviously you have to be careful you don’t frustrate the slow reader by providing a book that is too difficult but I have noticed that slow readers don’t like to be read to after they have outgrown

babyish picture books so “smelly” books with funny, forbidden words might intrigue them. You can play the “I’ll read one line, you read the next” with them.

Because SCREENS are so pervasive…TV, computer, games, cell phones….parents should try to “hook” kids on reading BOOKS before they can manipulate keys to text. And because reading well is so important to future success at school parents should continue the effort. Let your children see you read, challenge then with interesting newspaper and magazine articles, get books of movies they liked, evolve family reading sessions with older children to critical reading where each person reads something and then explains it to the others. The idea is to find an exciting book and get others interested in the excitement.

Happy Reading!