Dr. Abby Abigail Norfleet James Reluctant Readers Pragmatic Mom PragmaticMom

Tips for Engaging Reluctant Readers

Getting Reluctant Readers Interested in Reading

These tips are from Dr. Abby. I have more posts on Reluctant Readers here. Some reading strategies to get kids excited to read include:

Books on Tape iPad/iPhone app

Using Electronic Devices

Books That Appeal

Preview Books via Book Trailers (like Movie Trailers)

Create a Book Club for Your Child (more posts on Kid’s Book Club Meetings here)


Dr. Abby advises:

1. Help them develop verbal skills by reading to them every night from the time they are born.

2. Talk to them when they are babies. It doesn’t matter what you say, just talk to them.

3. Find books they’re interested in: anything by Richard Scary, and series for boys such as Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Give them graphic novels, but be careful. What you want are abridged versions of good literature, not rewritten junk. Also be very careful about Manga, the Japanese comic books – most are not suitable for children under 16. Check with your local library for recommendations.

4. Be a good role model – always have a book going of your own. Tweens might be interested in a boy-and-dad or girl-and-mom book club. Pick a book you enjoyed as a child and read it with your son or daughter. Get together with other dads/moms and sons/daughters who have read the book to talk about it.


About Dr. Abby:
Abigail Norfleet James PhD is the author of Teaching the Male Brain: How Boys Think, Feel, and Learn in School and Teaching the Female Brain: How Girls Learn Math & Science. She presents at education-related conferences around the world, most recently at Young, Drifting & Black in London in late June 2010, about how to help kids learn better in both single-sex and coed settings. Dr. Abby has also been invited to speak at the 2011 ACSD (formerly Assn. for Supervision and Curriculum Development) Conference – her presentation will be Gendered Education: How to teach girls and boys effectively in the same classroom. An expert in brain research and the real-world classroom, Dr. Abby’s groundbreaking work has helped schools in the US, Europe, Asia, and Africa get real results for their students.

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Great tips! As a teacher myself, I always found it was helpful to get reluctant readers to predict what would happen next in the story. Depending on their learning style preference, they might choose to tell me orally, draw a picture, write a song, etc., but whatever medium they chose, making the prediction made them invest a bit of themselves. They were eager to find out if they were right or not! Ellen Richard, M.Ed. http://www.letterlearning.com

    • To Ellen,
      I love your idea about predicting the ending with many different ways to express it. You clearly are an amazing teacher! Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

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