Best Practice

Engaging reluctant readers

Younger reluctant readers in secondary education are in danger of entering adult life functionally illiterate – with all the risks that this brings. Georgina Jones offers some advice on re-engaging these learners with reading

As he walks out past the gates, a fair haired young man flings a book into the overflowing rubbish. It wasn’t with disgust nor contempt, more just with a sorrowful shrug. There was no way he was taking home another stupid “Easy Reader”.

His teachers were always well-meaning; same old talk, sometimes delivered with head tilted to one side, sometimes delivered crossly with threats. Often goals were given, sometimes targets and incentives. It didn’t make any difference, the words on the page were hard. Too hard. He felt rubbish. He lit a cigarette, roared with laughter to a passing friend and tried to push to the back of his mind a simple fact: he couldn’t really read.

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