Guest Post: Hooking Reluctant Readers

Last month we featured audiobook reviews from guest blogger Jana Warnell, an elementary school librarian in Montana. You can read her reviews of Clementine, The Thief, and The Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan. Check out more reviews and librarian insights from Jana at her blog, http://janasbooklist.blogspot.com/.

Today, Jana shares with us her thoughts on using audiobooks to hook reluctant readers—reluctant readers that include both her husband and her son! When you hook a reluctant reader, they quickly become a motivated reader. And that’s what we want to see! Read Jana’s story and share how you hook reluctant readers and turn them into motivated ones, either by leaving a comment on this post or on our Facebook page.

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As a teacher, why do you pick the books that you read aloud for your class? I am assuming it is because you have found a great book that you want to share with your students. One thing I have noticed as a librarian is that when the first book of a series gets read to a class, the remaining books in that series get checked out a lot. Why not use audiobooks to elevate your student’s interest in a series or stand alone title? I am a big proponent for a teacher using an audio version of a book as a read aloud–it gives him or her a chance to sit back and enjoy the book as much as the students.

As a librarian I use audio books all the time in my library. My enthusiasm for a book can only go so far, but when I can find a sample of the audio version of the same book and play it for my students–when they can hear someone who is trained in using their voice effectively, it only serves to capture their attention even more. Any book I highlight this way gets checked out right away with a list of four or five who want to put it on hold. Another benefit for using audio books to hook readers is that you can sneak “girl” books in for boys. Recently I reviewed the audio version of Clementine. I guarantee that any student listening to this book would enjoy it, and the boys would enjoy it equally as much as the girls.

And audio books are not just for hooking reluctant readers. Do any of you have that student who is an awesome reader, but will only read from a certain series or genre? I can name four or five from my school and they are so frustrating in their refusal to try anything new! From personal experience I can tell you that sometimes hearing a book is just what is needed to get interested. This summer I listened to The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. This was a book I had been meaning to read for a few years, but just couldn’t get into it. The audiobook hooked me so completely I had to go check out the next three books in the series and cruised through them all within a week after finishing the audiobook. All it took was listening to the first one!

I live in a home with reluctant readers–three of them, my husband and my two sons. I use audio books all the time to whet their appetite for books. Sometimes it works, they want to read the next one themselves, sometimes it doesn’t, but I am going to keep doing it because I want them to be readers and to know these worlds and stories that I love so much! On a family vacation recently we listened to The Hunger Games in the car. My older son wanted to read Catching Fire (the sequel) when we got home! My husband has been spending time listening to audio books. He listened to an adult book and a couple of middle grade books. He commented to me that he really liked the last few books he has listened to. I told him it was a very valid way to read books. He replied, “I wish I’d known about it in high school!”

If your school library has playaways or CDs of audio books, take some time to look over what it available. Think about adding it to your classroom this year to engage students in a new way. Most of them will be new to this form of media and I know it will be a success for you and them!

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4 Responses

  1. I agree that audio books are great for reluctant readers. Did you know about the Ripple Reader? RippleReader.com is a place that helps you create your own audio books for your kids. I am planning on blogging on this soon but wanted to mention it to your readers.

  2. […] Clementine, The Thief, and The Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan. She also shared with us how to hook reluctant readers with audio. Check out more reviews and librarian insights from Jana at her blog, […]

  3. […] Clementine, The Thief, and The Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan. She also shared with us how to hook reluctant readers with audio and on audiobooks and fluency. Check out more reviews and librarian insights from Jana at her blog, […]

  4. […] Clementine, The Thief, and The Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan. She also shared with us how to hook reluctant readers with audio, audiobooks and comprehension, and on audiobooks and fluency. Check out more reviews and librarian […]

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