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How to Convert Non-Readers Into Readers

Posted on the 20 July 2012 by Theliteraturelion @LiteratureLion

Everyone knows of those people who absolutely despise reading. Anything having to do with reading, they hate it. Book lovers like us, tend to stay away from people like that. But say for example, that you're really good friends with a person who hates books and reading. So what do you do? You convert them.
By saying 'convert' them, it sounds like you're telling them to join a cult. All I mean, is trying to get people to read more books! I have a two examples of my friends. One who used to hate books, and only liked one series but is now broadening his horizons and one friend who never had much interest in reading but now loves it!
Example 1: Michael, my boyfriend.
My boyfriend and I have been dating for seven months, and he just graduated this year. All throughout high school, he's HATED reading, except he did like the Eragon series. In my Spanish class, our teacher requires two days out of the year where we just spend the class reading. My friends always request that I bring books for them to read, and I usually bring extras for other classmates in case they forgot. Michael saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower and grabbed it. He didn't like it, mostly due to the fact of how naive Charlie is, because Michael is very athletic and outgoing. So of course, he didn't like that one. He knew books were a big part of my life, so now he's trying to get into them a bit. I haven't read the Eragon series, so he's going to give me all the copies of the books (4 of them) in exchange for him reading the Hunger Games and the first Percy Jackson book. We went and saw the Hunger Games movie together, and he really enjoyed it and wanted to read them, so this is our little deal! I'm hoping that he will get a little more interested in books. He's going into the Air Force in a few weeks, so he's not going to have much time to read over the next few months, but hopefully he'll find a little down time to read!
Example 2: Amanda, one of my best friends.
Amanda is smart - let's just say that. It surprises me that she never reads! The last time she read was about 3 years ago, when she read the Twilight series but only got halfway through Eclipse. Her reading story is a fun one! One day she was at my house and saw my copy of Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen on my bookshelf and she asked if she could borrow it. I was so surprised! She devoured the book, and I then made a list of all the Sarah Dessen books for her! Over the past few weeks, she's read most of the Sarah Dessen books, and now she's moving on to other young adult contemporary like Elizabeth Scott books, Anna and the French Kiss, Sarah Ockler books, and If I Stay! Every time she finishes a book, she sends me a message with a short little review of her thoughts! She's obsessed with our local library as well, and she's going to be making a Goodreads account too!
Most of my friends now read, which I'm super happy about. Everyone comes to me for book recommendations and I'm known as the walking library. As I think about it, most of my friends read now - some more than others - but it's the thought that counts right?!
There are many ways to get your friends to convert to reading more. My basic way, is to always have a book on hand. During school, I have a new book every day, and I like to read during free time in class. My friends get interested by the cover or title and they ask me what it's about. It's also nice that we have a very large library at my school with a lot of new young adult fiction. Most students have study hall in there, and I like to get my friends to look at the books with me when we're bored!
The easiest way for me to get people to like books is to talk about them. I'll make a reference to something, or say a funny quote, and people will ask me what it's from. I'll say the book and then give a short little summary and that's when people get interested!
Also, you have to appeal to their hobbies and likes. You wouldn't want to give a bubbly girl a dark paranormal novel. With my friend Amanda, I'm starting her out with cutesy contemporary books, like Sarah Dessen. In a few weeks, I'm going to ween her over to a little more heavier contemporaries like John Green. After that, I may throw in some really light paranormal with a lot of romance, or a good dystopian!
The last factor is figuring out timing. One of my friends really likes to read, but she babysits a lot, does horse shows, and a bunch of other things that she doesn't get much time to read. She would love if she could just sit down and read, but she never has the time. If you want to convert a friend that is total anti-books, and they're super busy, you have to be really careful. It could possibly make them hate books even more!
Take it slow - everyone loves to read, honestly. Most people are just afraid to admit it, or they say they have better things to do. Who wouldn't want to get lost in a good book though?
Hopefully after these tips, you'll be able to successfully convert some of your friends to reading! If you've got some friends that you've been able to start reading, let me know in the comments! I'd love to hear any stories about how you got your friends to read!
How to Convert Non-Readers Into Readers

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