Transforming an Adult Non-Reader into a Reader

This post is written by Fiona Ingram as part of a blog tour for her latest book, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. For more about Fiona or to join her blog tour, check out the information here.

Transforming an adult non-reader into an interested reader might seem, at the outset, to be an insurmountable task. How does one persuade someone who is perhaps now entrenched in their ways, who perhaps has a fixed mindset, that reading is fun and once they start they will discover a new way of thinking?

There are a few reasons an adult is a non-reader.

This could be physical, either poor eyesight or dyslexia that has not been properly diagnosed, and this should be addressed. Perhaps they read as a child, but life, work, busyness, stress, the vagaries of modern living made it impossible to settle down with a book at the end of a hard day, and so they got out of the habit of reading. It could be they were never taught properly during school, were mocked for being ‘slow,’ and did not have either parental or teacher support when they needed it. They may have had to leave school early to go out to work and bring money into the family. The list can go on.

There are easy ways to start a transformation from an adult non-reader to a reader, but it will be slow, depending on the person’s physical abilities and the willingness to learn.

Children may feel embarrassed about not being good readers, but an adult will feel this even more. An adult must rid themselves of any feeling of guilt or shame at not reading. Turn the ‘page,’ so to speak, wipe the slate clean and get ready for a new beginning.
The teacher/tutor or facilitator of the adult reading group can come up with wonderfully creative ideas to get those little grey cells working and to get the group interested.

Start small.

Find out what each person is interested in, what subjects or hobbies they enjoy. Everyone is interested in something. It can be anything from knitting to car maintenance to an interest in whale watching. That is the first and possibly most important step. An excellent task is to invite the group members to bring something – a magazine or newspaper article or a book from the local library – to the group and read an extract to the group for five minutes, outlining something of interest to the other members. The time required is short, most of the meeting will be spent listening to others read their extracts, and suddenly the whole idea is more of a warm and friendly get-together than a cold lesson in the ABCs.

Take the session outdoors.

If the weather permits, and there is a park or an open green space nearby, the tutor can take the students outside, let them relax on rugs (brought for the purpose), and each person reads a short poem. Luckily most modern poems are very short, and a collection won’t be hard to find. Of course, everyone will say they can’t read poetry, they never read poetry, and the last time they read a poem was at school, but soon they’ll all see that no one is a shining star; everyone is in the same boat. Discussion will naturally follow suit.

An adult non-reader will possibly automatically assume that reading always involves books. Not so. Magazines (any kind), the newspaper, journals, publications such as Time Magazine or National Geographic, or collectible part series for hobbyists all have value.

It doesn’t matter what someone reads, as long as they read.

Show and Tell.

Another fun task is to ask the group participants to work on reading something at home, be it an article, newspaper or just a few chapters of a book, and to tell the group about it when they next meet. They can speak for up to two minutes, nothing too long. If this is a topic that piques their interest, you’ll find the person will surprise themselves.
Show and Tell is such a fun way to get people involved. Let the members bring something to show the others while they ‘tell’ them about it. This can be interesting and perhaps even tasty if someone decides to use a recipe for cookies as part of the show, brings cookies, and then gets to tell everyone about the ingredients.

Swop topics.

Everyone writes down on a piece of paper the topic that they are most interested in. Then the members pick the paper slips out of a hat and that’s their topic to research and bring to the next meeting. This can result in some hilarious stuff. Allow people to swop so they don’t feel forced to do a topic but encourage people to rise to the challenge. Keep tasks short, simple and to the point. The facilitator can also do some extra homework and find titles of books – either fiction or non-fiction – on the topics that the group members are interested in. Often people don’t know what they’d like to read after years of not reading.

These suggestions sound like a whole lot of activity and not much reading, but the point is not to sit and watch someone wade painfully through a book. It’s to find the spark that ignites the person’s interest in picking up the printed word for themselves.

Enthusiasm and energy are required to get these non-reading wheels turning, but it can be done. As with youngsters, getting people interested in something is easier when they are having fun!

FionaIngram.jpg (1) (1)

About the Author

Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers. She has now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in her middle-grade adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book,

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! She also teaches online novel writing for aspiring authors and she finds that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds her enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. She loves doing research for her book series. Fiona loves animals and has written two animal rescue stories. She has two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.

You can find Fiona at –




Author Site:




2 thoughts on “Transforming an Adult Non-Reader into a Reader

  1. I’ve found myself bored with reading as I got older, this blog has helped me with some god ideas to get me kick started back up. Thank Ms. Whitman for sharing this for us to read. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.