I’ve spent much of this year writing stories for reluctant readers, which are published through Badger Learning. I’ll post more about them soon, but in the meantime here’s an excerpt from a Q and A I did with them a while ago, which explains why I wanted to get involved with this important sector.
What inspired you to write for reluctant readers?
I believe anyone can become a reader if they’re given the right book and that becoming one will help them with many aspects of life. I’ve written series fiction for younger children as well as teen novels, so I was very keen to write stories with a high interest age and low reading age.
What challenges do struggling readers face when they open a book?
They’re often aware of tracking words on the page in a way that regular readers aren’t. We need to make them forget their physical experience of holding a book and draw them into the fictional experience of the characters. One way to do this is present situations and characters they can identify with and give them a fantastical twist.
What features and methods do you use to ensure that your books have that high interest appeal that really engages young readers?
In terms of content, I try to bring horror, fantasy or action into everyday life. In terms of structure, I try to write short chapters and keep them as single scenes. I try to enter the scene as the conflict is escalating, just as a screenwriter would, and go out on a cliff-hanger.
What difference do books like these make to children who are in need of literacy support?
I hope high-low books can stop reading feel like a stressful classroom chore and bring it into the realm of entertainment, along with fast-paced films, TV shows and games.