The Battle with Non-Readers

When I first started this blog back in 2012, I featured a combination of writing tips, reviews, and reflections on my own writing. I also touched upon the needs of middle grade readers. Seven years later reviews have overtaken the blog where I’m now featuring two per week.

I plan to again offer some of those non-review type posts. Hopefully at least once per month, which brings me to today’s topic: Kids who don’t like to read.

Case in point are Jake and Josh, twin boys who crave baseball, skiing, and earning extra money mowing lawns. Mom is a teacher and their Dad is home about half the month as his work takes him all over the western United States. From toddlers through elementary school, Mom read nightly to the boys, but getting them to pick up a book on their own was impossible.

They passed through my class and their reading habits never changed. I tried everything including short stories, graphic novels, and non-fiction titles. They respectively ignored anything that might have come from a bookstore or a library. Well, guess what? The boys never backed down and next month they graduate from High School. Still non-readers. Girls, gym time, and sports consume their spare time.

But after reading a summary of research done on the benefits of reading, I have one more trick up my sleeve. The article made me cheer. The mom now has a copy and is discussing it with her boys. Five points are summarized and reading for pleasure is a good thing because doing so…

  1. Helps you better understand and interact with people.
  2. Gives you a sense of belonging.
  3. Bolsters social skills.
  4. Strengthens our brains and may help us live longer.
  5. Helps one escape the stress of daily life.

It’s never too late to become an avid reader. I’m still pulling for you Jake and Josh!

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If you’d like to read the article or share it here’s the link.

I’ll be back Friday with another book review.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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4 Responses to The Battle with Non-Readers

  1. S.A. Larsen says:

    This battle to get reluctant readers (lots of times late middle grade school boys) to search and find books with topics that appeal to them seems never-ending. Not always, but lots of times readers who loved to read begin to change their reading habits around the age of puberty. In elementary and most of middle school, my youngest boy literally devoured books. Could never get enough of reading. Then, into his eighth grade year, his attentions began to shift to sports and friends. Now a freshman in high school, I can’t get him to pick up anything to read for pleasure. #sigh

    • There are six families in my neighborhood who are trying a teen boy book night. They’ve had two gatherings so far and they said its gone well. They meet every other month at one home. The first 30-40 minutes is to talk about a book they all agreed to read. So far they’ve read two short sports themed books. After the discussion they play video games, watch a movie, and eat. Before they leave the next book is decided. Sounds promising and I’ve agreed to lead a future discussion in July.

  2. The battle is far worse today because of all the devices that have become an extension of all of us. Thanks for the link.

    • I agree. It’s an always on world but hopefully teens will eventually discover there is a rich world in books—much more than they will ever find in social media.

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