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Book Club for Kids is a podcast where middle school readers discuss the books they love with host Kitty Felde. The author answers questions. A celebrity reads from the book.

Tips for Creating Lifelong Readers

Tip # 19: Power of Choice

Kitty Felde

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Today’s tip comes not from a teacher or librarian, but from one of those so-called "reluctant readers." I call him my "sage on a plane."

A young man seated next to me on a flight confessed that he wasn’t much of a reader himself back when he was a kid. He said his mother was frantic, dragging him to various specialists to make sure he didn’t have a learning disability. She couldn't understand why he didn’t share her passion for reading.

Brian was perfectly normal. And he always got fabulous grades in math. The diagnosis: he just wasn’t interested in fiction.

So his mom hatched a plan. She gave him a gift card for a bookstore. Fifty dollars. He was then turned loose in the store, encouraged to spend it on anything – as long as it was a book. He bought a big, fat technical manual. And then he read it cover to cover.

Mom was satisfied – though perhaps disappointed that she’d given birth to a non-fiction aficionado. Today Brian runs a successful audio production business.

So perhaps instead of filling up the Starbucks card for your own reluctant teen, how about a gift card to your local independent bookstore? Invite them to blow it all on the books of their choice.