I have a 12 year old son who struggles with reading. He loves to be read to, but when it comes to reading to himself or to me, he puts up a real fight. We adopted him when he was two and even though I am not certain, my guess is that his mother drank while she was pregnant with him. He struggles to spell words correctly, to write even a sentence or two and his math skills are even worse. His handwriting is completely illegible. We have tried phonics programs that cost thousands, had his eyes checked by the best of the best, hired tutors for years, tutored him ourselves, drilled him with flash cards and on and on. So why am I writing about this. Well, I have read to him since he was small and he has made very slow, but steady progress. I believe that reading aloud to him is that key that will eventually make him a reader.
We have read many books together. Sometimes we take turns reading and sometimes I just let him listen as I read. I explain vocab and I ask for preditions and such. Well yesterday we finished the first "Hunger Games" book, just in time, because the movie came out yesterday as well. He hasn't seen it yet though. When we finished the book, he gave me a big hug and said, "That was the best ending ever! I loved that book!" He could never have read it himself, but all of his friends are reading the books or have already read them. He wants to be included in the discussions of the books as well and now he can be.
I have to say that I would NOT stock these books in my elementary school library. (There was actually a debate over it at our school.) They are awfully violent and about "kids killing kids", but I am willing to read them to my "super reluctant reader" son. WHY? First of all, I can skim over parts I want to leave out that may be too violent for him. Secondly, if I can get him to sit next to me, feel my support and love for him, give him a comfy feeling during the time we have together reading, I think he will end up with a very positive feeling about books and reading in general. That's my goal and I am willing to give him magazines, comics, graphic novels, or whatever may interest him at this age. It may not be of great literary value, but so what? If he'll read it, then let him read it!
I love this amazing article by Mem Fox. http://www.memfox.com/like-mud-not-fireworks.html It supports what I'm talking about! Sometimes the Beatles are right when they said, "All You Need is Love". We've tried everything else!!!!!