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Inside Practically Paradise

Unlucky Arithmetic: Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader

Tip #12: Make sure your kids only read books that are “challenging.” Easy books are a complete waste of time. That goes double for comic books and Mad magazine.

Aha! Made you read. I hope you reacted to that statement because it comes from a poster I have in my library called Unlucky Arithmetic: Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader from the article by Dean Schneider and Robin Smith (The Horn Book, March/April 2001) I hosted a gathering of middle school librarians from my district on Thursday and several wanted copies of my poster with these statements on bad habits that will ensure your child is not a reader. 

Since it was copyrighted, I contacted Roger Sutton to get permission. Kudos to Roger Sutton and The Horn Book Inc. for helping me out. He sent the link below where you can print this as a pdf document. There are some other good things on the page, too.

If you go to this page and scroll down a bit you will find a link to a pdf file that will print as the poster. Roger told me I was to feel free to distribute for free so I immediately thought of you, blog readers. 

Fyi, Dean and Robin are creating a sequel that should appear in the July issue. I can’t wait for this. 

I’m hoping that someone produces posters that are intended for classroom teachers that remind them how essential library resources and the librarian are in helping them help their students. I’d like classroom teachers to vett these so they don’t offend teachers with an elitist approach like what triggered the blog discussions last weekend on Bill Ferriter’s blog The Tempered Radical. 

While I wouldn’t send the Unlucky Arithematic poster home to parents because they might not understand that these were BAD habits, it did make me think about how I can craft messages.


  1. Brenda (proseandkahn) says:

    I agree. I think that there is a poster available. I saw it at the Horn Book Booth at ALA Midwinter. They also had the 13 in bookmark format. I took a couple of bookmarks since I all too often squish whatever posters I pick up at the exhibits. Now I want more bookmarks.