If you’re a teacher, school librarian or parent to a reluctant reader then try out some of these ideas to get your kids reading!

A few little tricks I have learnt over the past few years, particularly for engaging teenage boys. Teachers and parents alike often feel frustrated and helpless as we know how important reading is to our children’s future success, but they just see it as ‘boring’ and irrelevant. The tips below take advantage of technology (kids are obsessed with it, so let’s use it!!), current crazes and the fact that we all love a bit of fun.

  1. Show book trailers at lunch times in the library or other large area. Book trailers are similar to and have the same purpose as a film trailer. This example is the 2008 ‘Gone’, but there are obviously current ones available as publishers are using them as a valid way to promote their clients’ books. A great way to build excitement about new releases and get kids buzzing about books.

    ‘Take advantage of technology’

2. Invest in a digital photo frame. This could be placed at the librarian’s desk, or somewhere eye catching (and safe). Take photos of new releases and have them running on slide show whenever there are pupils in that area. This is more likely to get the attention of a modern teen than a poster advert.

‘Current Crazes’

3. Get young people back into the classics by advertising the zombie adaptations. I have heard some amazing stories of the walking dead, zombie-crazed young teens reading ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ and then deciding to read the original text just to see how similar it is!

4. And with that in mind, zombies and vampires are all the thing at the moment, so make sure that there is a good stock of these books in the library – and why not throw in a bit of Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker while you’re at it!

5. Graphic novels: I used to be a real snob about these, dismissing them as picture books, but not anymore…. Graphic novels are a super option for engaging reluctant readers because they are attractive, action filled and the pictures reinforce the language, which is great for visual learners. There’s a massive range of books on offer, from Shakespeare adaptations, to the Alex Rider series, to the gruesome 300 (actually what the film with Gerard Butler is based on).

‘A bit of fun’

6Mr Men and Little Miss books – these stories never ever get boring. One of my happiest memories of reading to my  children was about six or  seven years ago when my 9 year old was just 2 or 3 and we read ‘Mr Silly’ . He laughed hysterically as we read the story together, especially at the end as Hargreaves describes a bird who says ‘”Woof!” it said, and flew off, backwards.’  – even now as a confident independent reader, he still loves to read them. These are short books, but you may be surprised to learn that they have a reading age of between 9 and 10 years owing to the frequent use of complex sentences with multiple embedded clauses.


Hope this is helpful; if you have any other techniques, please leave a comment!

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