Reaching Your Disengaged and Reluctant Readers with Home Run Books


If you are like me, you are always searching for ways to reach your struggling, disengaged, and reluctant readers. The truth is, there are many ways that a reader can struggle and many reasons why they are struggling. For some students it is at least partly an engagement issue: they don’t like to read, so they don’t read. In turn, their lack of reading volume contributes to their low skill level.

In this post, I want to share with you a simple tip that I learned from Jim Trelease— helping students find their “home run book”.

How I Found My Home Run Book

A few weeks ago I walked into my office and found this book sitting on my desk:

My daughter had recently returned from a trip to Chicago. While at a used bookstore, she found this book, so she brought it home as a gift.

This book is significant because it joins a collection of books about Helen Keller that began when I was 8 years old. This book by Margaret Davidson, to be exact:

The topic of the book isn’t important. What is important is that this book was my “home run book”. This is the book that turned me into a true reader.

I first heard the term “home run book” from Jim Trelease many years ago. From that day on, I made it my mission to share this concept with as many teachers as possible.

I believe that one of our important jobs as reading teachers is to help every student find their home run book. This is especially important for our disengaged, reluctant, and striving readers.

Here is a video with a more detailed explanation:

3 Steps for Helping Your Students Find Their Home Run Books

Would you join me in this mission? Here’s what I encourage you to do:

  1. Think about your own home run book story.
  2. Share that story with your students.
  3. Tell your students that you will partner with them to find their home run book.

I’d love to hear what your home run book was! You can share it in the comments below.

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