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Renaming “Reluctant Readers” | Book Riot

This isn’t unique to education, but ubiquitous in most occupations

Two, it’s easy to remember and easily understood by non-educators

Parents, for example, understand what we mean when we call a child a reluctant reader

Whereas terms like 504 or scaffolding or IEP are not as accessible upon first hearing them

It’s time for the expression to be closely examined and weighed

In order to redefine reluctant readers, we first have to understand who they are

Reluctant readers fall into two main categories: unwilling and unable

It’s important to recognize the distinct differences between these two

Unwilling readers are people who don’t want to read for a variety of reasons

Almost nothing is more unpleasant for a person with a still-developing brain than to sit still and

It’s possible that they weren’t given a choice of what to read

Being forced to read something, even if it might interest the reader once they got into it,

Then they start to identify as someone who’s not good at reading and develop negative self-talk

People who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia, ADHD, or oral/written language disorder may be reluctant

Or they might be people who fundamentally have the skills they need to read but don’t

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On the other hand, students who do meet eligibility criteria also get labeled with learning disabilities like

It might make developmentally-normal troublesome behaviors seem exaggerated causing the teacher to confuse the student with the

Sometimes the labels are unreliable or trendy (think TikTok diagnosing ADHD in adults)

Children cannot receive accommodations in school until they are labeled

Practically, federal and local funding for special education programs are based on categories of disabilities

They can give teachers a quick snapshot of the kind of support a student may need based

People need categories to be able to understand challenges students face and in order to organize their

A student with an ADHD diagnosis will be given more patience when they get out of their

Finally, labeling allows the person being labeled to change their perception of themselves and name specific challenges

As a society, we are moving toward a person-first adaption of labels, especially regarding disabilities

In education, we no longer say “disabled children” but instead “children with disabilities

” Instead of saying a person is autistic, we say they are a person with autism

Person first language lets people avoid the term “disabled” which can increase stigma around the word: disabled

Person first language limits their identity and implies they would be the same person without their disability,

Language is ever evolving, and we need to be conscientious of making sure we use terms that

John Spencer has written about flipping the term from “reluctant reader” to “reading reluctantly

Spencer goes so far as to say that there is no such thing as a reluctant reader

When I was a classroom teacher, I started every block with 20-30 minutes of silent sustained reading

I taught in a school that was primarily Black students who received free and reduced lunch

Exactly the type of student who is labeled “lazy” and “bad” by society

Without fail, every class, year after year, the students would read silently for 20-30 minutes

My philosophy was then, and still is now, that if you don’t think you’re a

I don’t have a definitive answer, but I do have some suggestions and believe that people

Spencer’s “reading reluctantly” is at the top of the list

I’ve found that people who struggle with learning know they struggle

So why not call them readers who struggle, rather than reluctant readers? We are not shocking them

Calling something what it is, shouldn’t have a negative connotation

We need to get away from the idea that difficulties signal inadequacy

I don’t read as fast as what is considered normal or average

”  These are people who take their time because they know they are prone to making mistakes

They are readers who stop occasionally to make connections or take notes

They are careful in their selection in addition to their style of reading

Once they start it, they take care with each page, each paragraph, and each sentence

It’s time we reexamine the term “reluctant reader” because it is more problematic than it is

Instead, let’s give readers the opportunity to approach reading gently, carefully

Let’s provide these readers with the care that they need in order to thrive, fall in