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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 #48: Reading Should Not Hurt

Kitty Felde

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"Reading should not hurt." That's the mantra of Megan Blue, librarian at Woodcreek High School in Roseville, California. Yet, sometimes it does.

Megan's library patrons are at an age when their English teachers assign a long list of books they "must" read. The books are classics, but all too often, the texts are difficult, old fashioned, with slow plots and hard-to-relate-to characters - in other words, no fun at all.

"But when you're reading for pleasure," says Megan, "that's exactly what it should be: something we enjoy." 

Reading for pleasure is important. The U.S. Department of Education found that the more students read for fun on their own time, the higher their reading scores. Yet, 16% of high school seniors say that they "never" or "hardly ever" read for fun anymore. 

Megan says she takes the pressure off of kids by encouraging second chances. "If you pick up a book and it's hard to read, even painful," she says, put it down. Megan believes in second chances. "It shouldn't be like pounding your head against the wall. Come get another book. Let's try again."

And no sour faces when you see what books they choose to read. If it's a book about Minecraft or a celebrity biography or a Harlequin romance, it's something to be celebrated. "Nobody is grading you on whether or not you're reading a bodice ripper at the beach," says Megan. "Nobody cares. Read what you enjoy."

Reading with joy is the reason we ask everyone who appears on Book Club for Kids to tell us their favorite book. We've compiled a rather eclectic list (in case you're looking for books as gifts this month...)

Thanks for the tip, Megan!