What do you do when a Scout can’t read his handbook?

Does a Scout in your troop have trouble reading the Boy Scout Handbook or merit badge pamphlets?

Don’t let that get in the way of his enjoyment of the Scouting program. Instead, take time to make a difference.

If you’re successful, you’ll help the Scout’s growth in your troop, at school, and in life. The stakes are high.

I asked our 10,000-plus Facebook friends for their ideas on how to help Scouts who have difficulty with reading that’s required for rank advancement, summer camp, or merit badges.

Here were some ideas:

Give It Time
Have additional Scoutmaster Conferences with this Scout to read over the requirements with him. Be sure to have him take notes that he can refer to, and don’t cover so much at one time that he becomes overwhelmed. At summer camp, cover the merit badge requirements before classes if possible, or set him up with a buddy to whom he can ask questions. Make sure his instructors at summer camp know about the issue so they can assist him.
– Kimberly S.

The Buddy System
Take the biggest, strongest, burliest kid in the troop and ask him to “mentor” this young lad. If all goes well, the big kid will appreciate the responsibility and treat the younger one as his own. There won’t be any teasing, and both boys will benefit. It also sends a message about helping each other. I always remind boys that we take care of our own.
– Harry S.

Now Hear This
The Boy Scout Handbook is available as an audio book from LearningAlly (formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic). It is available on CD or as a file to download to an MP3 player (WMA format). Merit badge pamphlets are also available.
– Jamie D.

More to Hear
Another great resource is BookShare – they have books ReadingAlly does not have. To access BookShare a student must have the signature of a physician or diagnostician.
– Stephanie H.

Use Your Resources
This young man requires additional effort on the part of youth and adults. That’s simply not negotiable. Talk to his principal at school, talk with his teachers. Get as many insights as you can on him.
– John P.

Success Story
We have a kid just like that in our troop. Our boys look out for him, and we use the buddy system. That and informing the counselors ahead of time did the trick. He loved camp and earned badges. He will be a Life Scout this summer.
– Joe W.

(Painting by Joseph Csatari)

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.