Not many people remember the first story they read or even when they started reading. It just seems like you started and could understand words and phrases and then you started learning more technical words and expanding your vocabulary and your library of books. But what about the kids that hated reading or couldn’t find books interesting?
Just because I am studying English at Washington State University (WSU) doesn’t mean I’ve always loved reading. Yes, sad to say but I used to wait until the last minute to get all my accelerated reading (AR) points in middle school. Reading was such a struggle for me and it wasn’t until high school that I found my niche for reading. My mother, who has actively been in a book club since I can remember, struggled with finding books that could excite me.
The first series that hooked me was the Sammy Keyes Mysteries. She was a junior detective, my age, and lived in a hotel with her grandmother. For me, it was perfect since I had a close connection to my grandmother and loved mystery stories. From there, I went on to complete the Series of Unfortunate Events, but then fell back into the struggle of finding books.
When high school came around, I was amazed that so many classmates loved reading. I always read the books for school, but couldn’t find myself reading outside of class. It took a long time, but I slowly found authors that interested me. I safely stuck to mystery novels because they interested me the most, but I tried incorporating my love of sports. Harlan Coben’s series with Myron Boltiar grabbed my attention. A sports agent that solves murders; I couldn’t ask for more.
The struggle to find good books that excite me has become easier now that I’m in college, but I still find myself wishing for another great series like Sammy Keys to captivate me. I have explored outside of mysteries and visited historical fictions like Between Shades of Gray and delved into young adult literature (YA lit). Though I still like my safe zone, readers need to explore more to find what truly interests them. Unfortunately for me, I became a good reader later in life and I wish that I spent more time enjoying myself with a good story.
Kids will struggle through reading, but that’s why they need suggestions and genres to look to. If they have a safe zone and feel comfortable as a reader there, then they might be willing to dip their toes in another genre. It worked for me, but keep in mind that if someone struggles to find books that are exciting, it’s okay. Not everyone is an all-star reader from the get-go. It takes time and patience.
Guest post by Ashley Guarino, student at Washington State University