Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

What is a “reluctant” reader?


A reluctant reader is someone….

1. who had little or no access to books in the home- growing up.

2. who was never read to by parents or grandparents on a regular basis- growing up.

3. who was skill-drill-and killed with phonics worksheets in elementary school.

4. who was not given access to books or time to read them in elementary school.

5. who was told their interpretation of poetry was wrong and the test company had the right answer.

6. who was shoved in front of computer programs in elementary and middle school to do endless drills.

7. who was told they were  not a fluent reader due to a cold reading of text.

8. who was told they could not read because they scored a 233 and not an arbitrary 234 on a state test.

9. who was never allowed to self-select comprehensible text and grow over time.

10. who was forced to read common core aligned text with questions called “The History of Cement.”

11. who was never allowed to become a book-loving citizen.

Our ultimate goal is to produce book-loving citizens who think, explore and do not always accept “A” as the correct answer. A “reluctant” reader is a creation of the state- a phantom. They are victims of the educational testing complex.  The illusion of the reluctant reader vanishes as soon as they find their first homerun book and have parents and teachers who provide the access to books and time to read them, abandon them, cry with them, yell at them and love them.

Let me close with two appropriate quotes from leading reading-researcher and past IRA President, Dick Allington.

“Reading volume predicts reading growth in struggling readers.”

“With what we do to low achieving high school students, I’m surprised more teachers’ tires are not slashed.”



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