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Expert Q&A

Motivating Pre-Teen Girls to Read

Can you suggest some books for a pre-teen girl who hates to read? She doesn’t read as fast as her classmates, so she prefers not to read at all.

One of the best things to do is to find out her interests and then find as many books as you can about those interests. Whether it be vampires, poetry, craft books, anything that is interesting.

Series books can be a good start. Jeff Stone has a series called The Five Ancestors(opens in a new window) that deals with martial arts. The books aren’t long and they are action packed — they appeal to kids who are into anime and manga as well.

If she is more “girly,” the Cosmogirl books have high appeal and are easy to read. These books are selections from Cosmogirl magazine, with advice, stories, and craft projects.

The 2008 Caldecott winner, The Invention of Hugo Cabret(opens in a new window), is a lengthy book, largely illustrated, that allows someone who doesn’t like fat books to read and enjoy one. The pictures are as important as the words in this one.

Finally, there is a series of books called “ology” — Dragonology(opens in a new window), Pirateology(opens in a new window), etc. that include lots of 3-D illustrations. These might be a bit young for her, but if she’s a younger pre-teen, one of them will probably be a winner.

You might also want to check out some audiobooks, if her decoding and fluency skills are weak. Of course, listening takes longer than reading, but it may be less frustrating if someone else is doing the actual reading.

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