Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Encouraging Reluctant readers

I have mentioned several times about my childrens unlove for books and the difficulty my eldest has in learning to read and it is very rare to find any of them picking up a book for pleasure. When reading is a chore, it really is a bore and non of them have that passion for a good book.

I never push the issue because I know how much Jake struggles, I try hard to just leave things be, and as a result they all reach for the TV remote rather than the books, they ask if there is a film of the stories their friends talk about, and I sigh to myself wondering if they will ever find the love of a good book.

So when Anne contacted me a few months ago about partaking in a scheme she wanted to trial, to get reluctant readers reading, it sounded perfect!

Anne runs Hummingbird Books, which is a great website dedicated to childrens books, but unlike other book stores Hummingbird books only stock books which have been recommended by children, the good books, and along side selling books Anne has created a unique scheme to get reluctant readers reading.

The scheme involves phone sessions between Anne and a parent, carer or teacher, where Anne can share her knowledge and help find a way to inspire childrens love of books, Anne then helps you to access books through your local library, or find them to purchase should you require.

Whilst it is obvious Anne is very passionate about books and getting children to read, she is also very practical in her approach, as a parent and a primary school teacher herself, she has plenty of experience in what children like to read and the different difficulty levels of the popular children books.

Like me she feels that simply forcing a child to read is never going to get the right result, if you want a child to enjoy reading, well they have to genuinely enjoy it don't they? and they simply will not enjoy it if the books you give them are either too hard for them, or not interesting enough or both of them things, unfortunately it is the latter style books that my children seem to have come across the most, and I am sure this is where their dislike for a good book stems from.

I am an avid reader, and always have been, I can't actually remember learning to read, I could read before I started primary school, I never really read school books to my parents, yet I loved books, I would pick up books and read whatever I could get my hands on and loose myself in a good book time after time, and I do wish my children had that pleasure too, but when faced with a catalogue of books or when I step into a book store I just don't know which books to choose.

And this is where this reading scheme is invaluable! After our initial phone consultation, Anne had several suggestions to try, going back to easier books, stepping back a level and finding that spark of interest being her main aim instead of worrying about which reading level, or what stage the child is at. A really refreshing way to look at reading and a very encouraging one that matches my thoughts.

Anne suggested the Puddle Lane series of books for Chloe, a simple series of books, aimed at beginner readers, Chloe can read, but doesn't choose to for pleasure, stepping back to easier books such as the Puddle Lane series really helped, the beautifully illustrated books which were easy to read really encouraged Chloe and gave her confidence, stepping down to easier books was not a backwards step, it was a huge help, reading these books was fun... there was a glimmer of light, continuing with Annes encouragement over the following weeks, we have since found new books which Chloe has simply loved and the spark is growing every day.

So if you have a reluctant reader, and you are not sure what to try, then I would definitely give Annes scheme a go! Phone sessions are charged at £15 for a 30 minute consultation, Anne recommends between 3 and 6 to get the best results. For this week only if you pop over to you will find a half price offer for this reading scheme for the next week only (until 26th September 2012) And if your child already has a love for books then be sure to check out the great selection of books available on

We were offered to trial this scheme for free and thoroughly enjoyed the phone calls and advise received, we were not given any other  reward for writing this post and do think Annes advice and knowledge will be of use to other reluctant readers.


  1. This sounds like a great scheme and anything that encourages readers is a great thing.

  2. Sarah, I was just logging on to my computer to encourage my sister in American (I'm in Australia) to do more to help her daughter (age 7) to learn to read, when I say your post. Perfect timing! Much to my amazement, my daughters (ages 6 & 7) are reading way beyond what I would have been at their age. I think this is because their school started them out with a phonics program, including learning sight words prior to trying to read. But I love the idea of the Puddle Lane series of books. Children have to be engaged with the story and want to get to the next chapter in order to be motivated to keep going. I hope your children find the love of books with Anne's help.

  3. excellent scheme, I shall be forwarding this onto my sister in due course! :)


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