Hi, My Name is . . . and My Son is a Reluctant Reader

16 Feb

Can graphic novels be used to stimulate a reluctant reader’s interest in reading? I’ve always loved reading, so I struggle to get through to my reluctant reader. I just can’t seem to get the fire lit. Oh, he’s read books that he loves. Good books, too, like Bud, Not Buddy and Hatchet, but those were just sparks – no flame. He never gets a white hot desire to find his next book.

He has passion, though. It’s not that he lacks that. He just does not find fulfillment from the written word. When he has an interest in something he researches it with as much fervor as I would, but where I would Google and work my way through the results, he will go on YouTube to find a video on the subject and will not quit until he does. To his credit, he has learned lots that way, but it bothers me that he is missing something that is so much a part of my life, and something that can be so rewarding and enriching. I feel like I should start a support group or something.

“Hi, my name is Carl and my son eschews the written word.” Yes, I did just use the word “eschew.” I did it because I can. Will he ever be able to?

Today I began my experiment with graphic novels. I purchased the graphic novel version of Treasure Island. His eyes lit up a bit when I showed it to him, but then he said, “She’ll never accept it.” By “she” he means his literature teacher. His first criteria in deciding (no, agreeing) to read a book is whether or not the book will get him one step closer to fulfilling his reading requirement. (Don’t even get me started.)

Shh! Don’t make a sound. He just picked up the book and sat down next to me. This is rarely seen and has never been photographed. Arrg! The first thing he said upon opening the book was, “How many pages is this?” My response, “Really? Even when a book is 90% pictures you have a maximum page count?”

Well, he’s done now. He went back to the computer. Sigh. No combustion.  I guess there’s always tomorrow. I was hoping to be able to provide you with an uplifting graphic novel success story. Good thing I had a backup plan.

For an uplifting graphic novel success story, please take a look at this article on the The Official Site of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents. For more reading on the subject, here’s an article on Using Graphic Novels to Attract Reluctant Readers.

Finally, for those of you who are like my reluctant reader, here is a Youtube video promoting graphic novels for reluctant readers.  Yes, really.   Graphic Novel Promo.


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Written by Carl

  1. Max Elliot Anderson

    February 21, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    It’s so important to draw attention to reading, and attract reluctant readers to it,especially boys. In fact, I’ve recently completed a feature magazine article on this subject that came out in October, “Help for Struggling, Reluctant Readers.”

    I grew up as a reluctant reader, in spite of the fact that my father published over 70 books. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for tween boys, that avid boy readers and girls enjoy just as much.

    My blog, Books for Boys is dedicated to drawing attention to the importance of reading. And my new book, Lost Island Smugglers – first in the Sam Butler Adventure Series – is coming out in June.

    Keep up your good work.

    Max Elliot Anderson
    PS. My first 7 books are going to be republished by Comfort Publishing later in 2010

    • Carl

      February 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks for your support, Max, and thanks for writing books that boys love to read.

  2. latisha

    March 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    As a Mother of two reluctant readers, I must say that this book has helped my two boys create an amazing interest in reading. “HELLS AQUARIUM” by Steve Alten, about the giant prehistoric shark Megalodon. Thanks to this book, my kids now read at will.