Our Top Five Resources for Reluctant Readers

If you've ever come across a pupil who doesn't enjoy reading (and I know you have), my first message would be, don't despair and don't give up!

In my experience as a teacher and working on our Schools team, I can tell you that often it's just about finding an alternative path into reading. Some pupils will pick up a book if you recommend it, others are far more likely to pay attention to their peers' behaviour. Some pupils benefit from the little habitual things you introduce into the classroom, others will respond to big and exciting whole-school events. Some will be indifferent to e-readers, while for others they're just what's needed.

And while this requires a commitment from you, don't worry, we're here to help with a wide variety of resources:

Creating a Reading Culture: Get your whole school reading
Children looking at books in a school event

This resource contains a wealth of tried-and-tested activities to help you raise the profile of reading in your school. Filled with ideas big and small, there's something in here for everyone, and it all comes from great practice we've seen on our travels around the country's schools. You'll find little, low-maintenance ideas that you can weave into the fabric of your daily routines with pupils, and large-scale projects that can really create a buzz about reading.

Engaging reluctant readers with the books of Melvin Burgess
Melvin Burgess

Sometimes pupils are under the impression that books don't offer a window into real lives. Pupils whose reading hasn't become wider since primary school can see it as frivolous escapism, since their last experience of reading for pleasure was genre fiction like adventure or fantasy (for the same reasons, pupils often see poetry as being solely about beautiful sunsets and whimsical mystery cats).

Melvin Burgess' books Junk and Bloodtide are ideal reading material to counter this: hard-hitting, unsentimental books about characters facing tough realities. This resource gives you discussion guides for both books, as well as follow up activities and reading lists.

Apps for Literacy - blog series with Bev Humphrey
A tablet

Technology offers a lot of advantages in our efforts to get chlildren reading, and this series will open your eyes to the possibilities. Tablets come equipped with lots of features to help make texts more readable and accesible for dyslexic and struggling readers, and for those reluctant to pick up a book, graphic novel apps and interactive stories can be hugely appealing and novel. Stand by for the last in the series on augmented reality apps, coming soon!

How to Teach Creative Writing with Nick Hesketh

Nick Hesketh is a hugely experienced teacher of creative writing, and the tips in this video series have been developed specifically for reluctant readers and writers. Nick describes how to get your pupils interested in the world of writing, how to increase their confidence and how to get them invested in their stories. Hugely practical and innovative, the series will have relevance for teachers of any pupils between P5 and S1.

Our Authors Live events

Seeing an author in the flesh is often a powerful experience for pupils, as they begin to realise that there's a relatable face behind the book. Our fantastic Authors Live events with top children's authors are freely available to watch on demand, and there are some particular highlights for reluctant readers. Andy Stanton's hilarious Python-esque performance could be the ideal gateway to a pupil picking up Mr. Gum; Chris Hoy and Joanna Nadin's event could inspire a reluctant reader to pick up the cycling series Flying Fergus; Tom Gates author Liz Pichon and the Etherington brothers are both fantastic illustrators who could get readers hooked on graphic novels; and Jackie Kay and Patrick Ness are captivating personalities who could change your pupils' perception of poetry and fiction.

Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg - check out all the videos in our Watch on Demand section and find the event that's going to get your pupils raring to read some brilliant books! Don't forget to check out our programme of upcoming events too.

So don't lose heart! The modern world is full of technological distractions, but you can work with them, not against them (for instance, check out our series on how to create a book trailer). If you think peer pressure is a powerful force compelling pupils to avoid books, just check out what happened at McLaren High School when a librarian decided to create a buzz about books across the curriculum. And be sure to check out the rest of our blogs on creating a reading culture too!