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Local News

In helping people read better, experts tout accessibility, incentives


Mike Moen, Producer

Even though March is barely underway, parents of Wisconsin kids are being encouraged to plan for summer reading activities – especially if their child needs more skills and confidence in reading.

And there are tips for adults, too.

It’s National Reading Month, and schools are often tasked with helping students with literacy challenges. And there are dozens of community-based programs across the state.

But Blaze Burton, library assistant at the Mercer Public Library, said parents can think about ways to also weave in a less formal approach.

His location has a specific summer program that works to draw in kids who aren’t exactly enthusiastic about picking up a book.

“We give out these passports, and kids and adults can go to all the different libraries in our area and get a stamp and then get entered into a drawing,” said Burton. “And then, you get the kids into the library, you get them a book in their hand and you say, ‘Here, you can take this and then, just return it to the next one you go at.'”

He said combining accessibility with prize incentives might make reading feel less like a chore.

And for adults who want to boost their literacy skills, Burton said trying non-fiction is a good option, because the sentence structure tends to be straightforward.

Burton said overall, sticking with topics you’re interested in helps lay the groundwork for wanting to continue reading. For pre-teens, he said graphic novels can be a popular choice.

“It is a lot of dialogue,” said Burton, “sometimes there’s some context, you know, paragraphs and stuff in there. But it gives kids that visual. And sometimes, they need that to keep going.”

He said graphic novels often emphasize a singular word on the page, helping the child to better understand its meaning.

For those in their teen years, literacy experts say they can find books about the issues they’re experiencing, potentially serving as sources of strength and encouragement.

This story is republished from Public News Service under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.