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Cracking Reading for Struggling Girls!
First class short teen fiction, accessible to all
oy reluctant readers have a higher profile than their female peers, but there are many girls who do little or no reading. Just as many girls as boys are dyslexic, although girls often present for assessment later. This may be because they tend to be more adept at hiding issues from school and family. They are also less likely than boys to “act up” when school work becomes a struggle.
Stoke Books is working hard to provide engaging and accessible books for this group of readers. These are our top picks…
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Top Tips for Engaging Reluctant Girl Readers • Try not to judge their choices – it’s just as valid to tempt a reluctant reader girl with sparkles, fairies, romance or vampires as a boy with football. Encourage them to try new things with positive recommendations – “if you loved that, then you will love this …” • Be aware that girls can be very status-conscious. Jackets matter, as do authors and genres. TV and film tie-ins can help switch them on to books. • Just because they don’t kick up a fuss doesn’t mean it’s a good fit. There is an old rule that girls will read or watch content aimed at boys, but not vice versa. This does girls no favors – make sure there are strong female characters for them to identify with.
We caught up with Fiona Kirk, a school librarian with experience of both middle and high school. Fiona was kind enough to share some of the ways she tempts girls into her library … • • • •
Peer recommendations are great – girls like to read what their friends are reading. Book Clubs are good for girls – they enjoy talking about what they are reading. A welcoming library space helps, including a chance to talk in the library! Real-life, true stories can work for teenage girls who won’t read anything else – misery lit and the more harrowing the better! • Series go down well – get them hooked on the first and they tend to devour the rest. • Eye-catching displays of new titles appeal to those who only want to read what’s new. Try posters around the school, even in the bathroom stalls. Fiona says, “I did that once and girls came asking for the books who had never borrowed before.” • Items in the school newsletter are important, Fiona says, to “remind parents and students that the library is there to be used.” • Libraries should have plenty of copies of class readers and other books by the same author. Stoke Books offers shorter, more accessible novels by well-known authors, ideal as quick reads for confident readers and a way-in for strugglers. • Author or illustrator displays in the library are a great way to promote different books to students. Big thanks to Fiona for her inspiring ideas! You can find information about our books at www.stokebooks.com