A few weeks ago, I asked for suggestions of good books to read for a 16 year old reluctant reader that I am tutoring. I was so blessed by the interest and responses that you gave. I have a increasing list of books to read from your suggestions. I love good children’s literature and plan to keep reading through that genre until I die.
We had a major breakthrough yesterday which I wanted to share with you.
Let me back up. I cleared a complete shelf of my books and put a collection of books for this girl to choose from. Some were borrowed from friends, some were borrowed from the library, and most were gleaned from my shelves. The first day we moseyed through the collection and I gave her a short synopsis of each book.
She chose “The Midwife’s Apprentice” and took off. Note: it is a small book, not very long and had a compelling picture on the front.
One of my readers, you know who you are, was incredibly perceptive. She looked at the request through the eyes of a young non-reader. What would be attractive to her? She suggested “The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants” might draw my girl in. This is not Lord of the Rings, nor is it A Wrinkle in Time. I previewed it and decided to give it to her.
It’s not a book I would recommend to a typical homeschooled teen-age girl. It is a coming of age story of four girlfriends. There are some “mature” situations, but not the steamy, Harlequin variety. What I appreciated about the “mature situation” is that the author clearly shows the deleterious effects it had on the young girl. The book didn’t say, “Don’t have sex before marriage because that is breaking God’s law.” However, the author understands that this was wrong on all accounts for this girl. Whether the author was choosing to be didactic, I don’t know; we’ve had some good discussions springing from this.
Yesterday. We went to the public library. 16 years old, and never had been to a library before. She had already read the first two Traveling Pants book and wanted to check out the third. Visibly excited. The director of the library issued my student her first library card with a cool plastic holder.
In two 1/2 weeks, she has read three books, more reading than ever in her life. She has lost herself in a book and chosen to read in her free time. We have purchased a small electronic dictionary and she has a small notebook – both fit in her purse. We’re collecting words, building vocabulary.
And we have stacks of books waiting in the wings.