Jeff Gunhus’ Tips for Reaching the Reluctant Reader

I have a philosophy that I try to adhere to… As a parent, I believe it is important to keep our eyes and ears open for novel ideas for ways to get around issues we might have with our children. Since there is never a guarantee that something will work for every child, it is important to be aware of what’s out there.

A lot of ways we look at for inculcating a love for reading in children are aimed at much younger children. Having two boys that love books, reading has never been a concern for us. But there are lots of older children that don’t like to read. So if you are a parent of one of those children, this is for you – and for me to remember, in future, if one of my boys ever stops liking books…

I stumbled upon Jeff Gunhus’ Success Story when I was window shopping on Amazon. Jeff started writing stories to get his 11 year old boy interested in reading. He created a hero name Jack (also the name of his son) and made the stories so captivating that his son was soon hooked on reading. Jeff went on to publish his books on Kindle Direct Publishing and they have become best sellers on Amazon.

We have not read Jack Templar Monster Hunter, so here are some independent reviews of the book:

If you want a feel for what the style is like, check it out on Cabin Goddess. There are already three books in the series and most of the ratings are pretty positive – not that it should come as a surprise since Gunhus’ first critic was his reluctant reader whom he had to impress. It’s been lumped together with books like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson so if you have a child that likes those books, you might like to try this one as well. And if not, well, a book about monsters, a boy hero and adventure sounds to be exactly the kind of book that most boys (especially my G2 when he’s old enough for it) will love so we’ll definitely keep this one on the radar.

Tips for Reaching the Reluctant Reader

Even if you’re not into monsters, I like Jeff’s 10 Tips for reaching the reluctant reader:

  1. Set up time to read with them. There’s always time. Sometimes you just have to carve it out of something else.
  2. Have them read out loud. You’ll know better where they are getting hung up. Kids often avoid reading because they think they’re not good at it. Find out.
  3. Read with a pencil. Underline words your reader has a tough time pronouncing or can’t define. Transfer to a separate page later.
  4. Make them feel safe. Set the ground rules. Let them know that you didn’t know a lot of words when you were young. Confide that there are still words that you don’t know. There’s no judgment in the reading club.
  5. Use books that are fun, easy reads at first. An author who ends each chapter with a white-knuckled cliffhanger helps.
  6. Only let them read that book in your sessions. Make it special and use the cliffhanger to get them excited for the next session. Encourage a separate book to read outside the reading sessions if they are getting the bug.
  7. Relate to the book. Figure out how your reader’s life relates to the characters. This helps critical thinking and makes it fun.
  8. Write your own stories. They don’t have to be novels. But put your reader into the story, even if it’s just their name. Have fun with it.
  9. Be consistent. Once you set this appointment, nothing can touch it. Nothing.
  10. Have fun! This isn’t school, it’s supposed to be fun. You might be surprised. I didn’t expect to like the Harry Potter books but I loved them. Outside of writing Jack Templar, I had my own burst of reading. It was great fun and the more the boys saw me with a book in my hand, the more likely they were to do the same. The quiet mornings with my boys became some of my favorite times with them. I hope you can experience the same.

I really like no. 8. There’s more here:


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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