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A robust high school reading list enhances any student’s college application, but what can you do if your child doesn’t like to read? Are they doomed to a non-literary life? Fortunately, there are a variety of helpful tips to follow if your child would rather build forts than read books, so don’t despair. It may require a little thinking outside the box, but there are many ways to encourage at least a willingness to read in most students.
Some reluctant readers are reluctant not because they don’t like to read, but because they’re active learners. In this case, find books that have very active main characters. Tom Sawyer, for example, is a character in a book who always gets into tons of trouble, whereas Jane Austen books are mostly about girls sitting around thinking stuff. Steer your student towards the action works. It’s helpful to think about the movie genre your student likes and find books in that similar genre.
Even for active learners, choosing a non-fiction book about doing things is helpful. Survival books, building books, or electronics books are very good examples. You can also read and watch active plays for active learners. Short books can be a great way to encourage reading. There are plenty of books on the “reading lists for the college bound” that are short, but if you need any help finding some, talk to your local librarian. Also make sure to encourage reading in the areas of your child’s specialization, books and magazines about their passion.
You can also include any books you used in regular courses. For instance, if you used The Red Badge of Courage for English class, you can put that on the reading list as well as on the course description. Include any books of faith, such as Bible, devotionals, etc. And don’t forget the books that your student reads for fun. Popular literature such as Harry Potter, Twilight, Marley and Me, or other books should be included in the list. Colleges want students to read popular literature as well as classical, so it’s okay to include books from the “New York Times Best Sellers” list.
You can also include audio books, although you should make sure that you indicate this beside the title. Audio books can help broaden a struggling reader’s horizons. Books that are read aloud can be put on the reading list, as well as magazine subscriptions. You can include the great books, the living books, and even the stupid books because variety is good when it comes to the reading list!
Lee Binz is a homeschooling expert and the founder of The Homescholar. She successfully homeschooled her two sons and currently aids many parents in homeschooling their own students.