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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 #45: The VIP Tour

Kitty Felde

Our live taping at Virginia’s Fall for the Book Festival

Our live taping at Virginia’s Fall for the Book Festival

Asking for help is sometimes one of the hardest things in the world. We hate to appear foolish or ignorant or less-than-perfect. Or perhaps I'm just describing myself. 

Anne Bensfield is the Children's Digital Learning Librarian at the Oak Park Public Library in Illinois. She says parents come up to the desk and sheepishly admit that they have a reluctant reader and ask for help. Anne tells parents to bring the child with them so that she can give them a special tour.

Anne says the key is talking to a reluctant reader face to face. She walks them through the stacks, grabbing books from the shelves as she goes. Anne watches carefully to guage their reaction to the cover. She asks them read the first page or so. 

Still not interested? Anne isn't discouraged. She talks to them about their likes and dislikes. If a child says she likes Harry Potter, Anne asks, "Which part?" After all, the J.K. Rowling series satisfies readers in different ways. "Oh, you liked the friendship piece of it?" she asks. "You liked the mystery? The adventure?" Once she's narrowed it down, Anne finds books that are similar. "It's all about matching their interests," she says.

Before they leave, Anne always ends with, "Come on back! If you didn't like those books, that's fine. My feelings are not hurt. Come on back! We'll start over and we'll look for something new."

Looking for book recommendations from the experts? Here's a LONG list of favorite books from the kids we've had as guests on past Book Club for Kids episodes.