Parents, you may not know the definition of a "reluctant reader," but you'll know if you have one in your family. Reluctant readers are identified by teachers and librarians as students who either struggle to read or lack the patience to read. Books compete with television, computers, cell phones and other electronic gadgets for kids' attention. The immediate gratification gained from hand-held video games or cartoons keeps kids engaged longer than books that require longer attention spans, deeper comprehension skills, and time.

But not to worry. Children's librarians and teachers want to help your child find the joy in reading. If you think you might be the parent of a reluctant reader, use the following eight tips to help your child tune into books.

1. Parents, Be Honest About Your Child's Reading Level

Every parent wants to brag that their child reads above grade level. But claiming your child's reading level is higher than it actually is sets him up for failure. He'll struggle to read the books and disengage entirely. Choosing books appropriate for his reading level motivates him to read more. He'll be reading at or above grade level before he knows it.

2. Kids, Be Honest About What Books You Like

Not everyone's a Harry Potter fan — and that's okay. Don't read what's impressive or what's popular if you don't like it. By fourth and fifth grade, kids can begin to identify what genre of books they enjoy (fantasy, mystery, nonfiction, etc.). Follow your interests, not your friend's.

3. Read At Least Three Chapters Before Deciding Whether or Not You Like the Book

It takes at least three chapters to definitely decide whether or not you enjoy a book. Kids who give up after the first chapter may miss out on a book they can't put down by chapter four.

4. Use the Five Word Rule to Determine If a Book Is Too Difficult

Reading a challenging book is one thing, but being overwhelmed is another. Librarians and teachers use the Five Word Rule of thumb to help students determine what books to read. If a child doesn't understand five or more words on a page, the book's content is likely too difficult for her.

5. Don't Forget Picture Books

They aren't just for preschoolers. Picture books exist for kindergarteners through sixth graders. Nonfiction books are especially popular with older kids.

6. Read Out Loud

My son's teacher still reads out loud every day to his third grade class. Kids in higher level elementary grades still benefit from having books read to them.

7. Expose Kids to as Many Genres as Possible

Doing so encourages them to explore different books on their own.

8. Ask Your School or Community Librarian for Help

Children's librarians are experts when it comes to recommending books. Children's authors such as Dan Gutman and Judy Blume are their best friends. During the next visit to the library, talk to the librarian. After answering some questions, she'll take you on a library stacks scavenger hunt.

Reluctant readers aren't destined for a lifetime of struggling to read. With the right motivation, they'll be leading book club discussions in no time.

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