Friday, January 20, 2012
Hand-selling Books to Kids
Yes, I truly believe children are more likely to love reading when they make their own choice of reading material. But there are times when kids might have a prejudice about a certain genre, or be blinkered to anything other than books about tractors or unicorns. Hand-selling is when I do my best to tell a child what will appeal to him about a book. And then he gets to choose for himself. With me trying hard not to look disappointed if he doesn't choose the book I love!
How NOT to hand-sell: Don't give a rambling recollection of the book. This is the verbal equivalent of a slide night. "There's this boy, see, and he has a dog, well, he has a cat too and the cat is so funny, makes all these jokes but the dog is good too, you'll love him. His name's Snap, not the boy but the dog. The boy is Jake. The cat's name is Tiddles. Or is it Puddles? Oh, never mind. Now where was I?"
Tips for hand-selling:
* Use your knowledge of the child to explain why you believe he will enjoy this book. Has he read a book with a similar theme? Does he like the subject matter? Did he express a love for humour in books? Is he a reluctant reader looking for lots of white space, large print and quirky illustrations.
* Show her the book in question. Let her hold it and leaf through it. This helps her make a visual and physical connection with the book.
* Keep your description short and to-the-point. Think back cover book blurb, not Gone with the Wind. Hone right in on the features that will appeal to this particular child rather then re-telling the plot.
Do you hand-sell books to your kids? Any tips for the rest of us? What works for you?
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