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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 #50: Oh, So You ARE a Reader

Kitty Felde

East City Book Shop

I could make a long list of the things I'm not very good at doing: singing, running, cleaning out cat litter, baking pies, crossword puzzles...

So I don't do them.

I know my limits and my tolerance for public humiliation, so I avoid karaoke. I walk fast. I coax my husband to tackle the cat duties. I bake brownies. I only read the comics, avoiding the puzzle page of the newspaper.

Kids who avoid reading often do it for the same reason: they think they're bad at it and avoid public humiliation by steering clear of books.

Heather Booth is the head of teen services at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library in Western Springs, Illinois. Heather says she coaxes reluctant readers to pick up a book by helping them see how much reading they do already. 

"They're reading tips about their favorite video game and they're reading articles about the TV and movie stars that they like," she says. They're reading instruction manuals and text messages from their friends. "They are readers," says Heather. "It's just that they're reading in formats that aren't found on the shelf."

Heather believes in the power of positive thinking - a concept made popular in the 1950's by Norman Vincent Peale who wrote, "Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. But with sound self-confidence you can succeed." 

Peale was primarily writing for the business world. But there's a scientific study that suggests having a positive outlook decreases your chances of having a heart attack. Even that young man from Florida who won the Mega Millions lottery credits positive thinking for his success. 

Why not use that power of positive thinking to transform reluctant readers?

Just writing this is giving me enough confidence to sing something from "Hamilton." But only in the shower. Small steps, yes?