Circle Time: How to Hook the Reluctant Reader by Andy Mulberry

Andy Mulberry is a independent author who wrote a book (Skycastle, the Demon, and Me) that I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing. She agreed to be a participant in my Kids’ Corner Guest Posts, and I am delighted with the high quality content she delivered! Thank you, Andy, for participating!

(Covers link to Goodreads.)


How to hook the reluctant reader? Well, if you have kids, chances are you’d like them to be avid readers. Because books are good; books make you smarter and brighter, which means better school grades! Right? You might have other reasons too, but unless one of the reasons is, ‘books are fun!’ then I regret to say your kid, your reader, probably won’t care.

If you have a reluctant reader at home who’s supremely unimpressed by books, it’s because he thinks books are not worth the effort, books are boring.

Convince your reluctant reader that reading is fun and the reluctance to pick up a book disappears. Groundbreaking, I know. Also, easier said than done.

Just like the best novels show and not tell a story, we should strive to show and not tell young readers that books are fun. How? Make books a part of your everyday life.

If your reluctant reader has questions about anything, go and find a book in the library that will answer his question. What I’m suggesting is, stop using the internet. Instead, look for answers in books—together with your reader.

No quick solutions—Raising readers is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Cause the best way to turn a reluctant reader into an eager one is to lead by example. If your reluctant reader sees you immersed in a book, he will eventually want to know why? Kids imitate the world around them. If they don’t see you read, guess what? Exactly.

Try those activities with your reluctant reader to immerse him into the reading experience:

  • Read the first chapter of a new book together and then take a stab at guessing what might happen next. Let your reluctant reader read on independently to find out who guessed right.
  • Judge a book by its cover—we all do it, it’s fun. Questions to ask: “Look at the cover, what do you think the story might be?” If you have a reluctant reader at home who loves to draw, well, let him draw a new cover.
  • Read the book’s blurb together, ask what they like or dislike about it.
  • An ‘evil trick’ worth trying… The forbidden book. “Oh, this book? Maybe you shouldn’t read that. It’s too scary/too gross/too naughty/too something.” Leave the book on the kitchen table and your reluctant reader will be sure to sneak a peek
  • For those days you can’t make the trip to the library… If you own a Kindle or a similar device: It doesn’t matter if it’s a ‘real’ book or an ‘eBook’…libraries carry both, and checking out eBooks from is easy and free.

So, what are the best kind of books for reluctant readers?

Well, I raised a boy, and more boys than girls tend to be reluctant readers, so the below two books are what I’d call ‘books for boys,’ but I dare say girls will enjoy them just as much. It’s no secret, boys like gross humor. They also like mysterious stories. And because we want to lead by example, there’s a reading suggestion for grown-ups too.

Hey, it’s based on a true story!

The Day My Butt Went Psycho by Andy Griffiths

A story that you and your butt will never forget! Join Zack on his epic journey across the Great Windy Desert and through the Brown Forest, to reclaim his runaway butt. Zack Freeman is ready to tell his story…the story of a brave young boy and his crazy runaway butt. The story of a crack butt-fighting unit called the B-team, a legendary Butt Hunter’s formidable daghter, and some of the ugliest and meanest butts ever to roam the face of the Earth. A story of endurance that takes Zack on an epic journey across the Great Windy Desert, through the Brown Forest, and over the Sea of Butts before descending into the heart of an explosive buttcano to confront the biggest, ugliest, and meanest butt of them all!


39 clues cover

The Maze of Bones (39 Clues, No. 1)

Grace is the last matriarch of the Cahills, the world’s most powerful family. Everyone from Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost. 39 Clues hidden around the world will reveal the family’s secret, but no one has been able to assemble them. Now the clues race is on, and young Amy and Dan must decide what’s important: hunting clues or uncovering what REALLY happened to their parents.



How to Get Your Child to Love Reading

Are children reading enough? Not according to most parents and teachers, who know that reading aloud with children fosters a lifelong love of books, ensures better standardized test scores, promotes greater success in school, and helps instill the values we most want to pass on.


Hopefully you found a take-away worth trying with your reluctant reader! But what do I know? I’m not an educator. I’m a bookworm, a mom, a middle grade author, a herder of cats But I know that the perfect book for your reluctant reader is out there, the one that will instill a sense of wonder and joy in him, and you just have to help him find it!

Speaking of finding things, find me on Twitter, I like to chat!

Skycastle, the Demon, and Me (Skycastle #1)

Middle Grade ~ If you owe Hell gold but you can’t pay, you’re about to have a bad day!

Jack gets MUCH more than he bargained for when he orders a demon straight from the Underworld. Things go hilariously awry when the demon Brinkloven Crowley the Third, Brink for short, isn’t all what Jack expected.And when Hell comes knocking, Jack’s and Brink’s destinies are tied together in a most unexpected fashion.

WARNING…this book contains a scowling demon, bad decisions, a skeleton key, not foul but hellish language, an ordinary boy and an extraordinary castle. And a whole lot of fun. You’ve been warned.

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8 Responses to Circle Time: How to Hook the Reluctant Reader by Andy Mulberry

  1. The Day My Butt Went Psycho… How could *anyone* be reluctant to give THAT book a read :) thanks again for the guest spot!

    • gplus-profile-pictureScifi and Scary says:

      I know, right? Its right up there with World War Moo in terms of great titles! I’m happy to have featured you!

  2. Ashleigh says:

    Ahh…The Maze of Bones – that book alone just reminds me of my childhood :) Great post!

  3. Jay Wilson says:

    Honestly, I think it really depends on the child. I got lucky because A) my little girl loves listening to my voice, which makes it easy to read to her and B) I know what she likes. There are millions of books out there with different genres, situations, characters etc that you can choose from, it’s easy to find something the child already loves and then reel them in that way. The little one loves silly horror, and so that works to my favor because R.L.Stine poos books almost as much as Patterson does. If your child loves vampire, it would make sense to find a (good) book that has vampires in it. They’d be more likely to pick up a book on their own if their experience thus far has been pleasurable because they realize that books offer stories about things they care about.

    I don’t know. I feel like it would be easier getting them into books by way of interests they already have rather than convincing them through subtle trickery. I should look more into this subject, though. Seems like a lot of people have different ways of doing it.

    • gplus-profile-pictureScifi and Scary says:

      There definitely are different ways of doing it, and the same ways definitely do NOT work for every child. With Miss L, I think a big part of it is the fact that she always saw me reading. Even now that she can read her own books perfectly fine, there’s a large chance that if she catches me reading, she’s going to curl up on the couch beside me to ‘read mommy’s book with her’.

      • Jay Wilson says:

        Yeah, I could read all day, and she wouldn’t really care. lol She’d definitely rather play with toys or her tablet or her make-up.

        When I was little, I started reading mostly because someone was getting positive feedback for reading, and I wanted the attention. Sadly, I never got any attention, but I fell in love with books, so I guess I got away like a bandit.

        Looking back at that and other people I knew, most started reading for various reasons. I wonder if there’s one that works the majority of the time (general psychology) rather than one that succeeds solely on individual personality traits.

What's your thoughts?