If you’re looking for titles that will get a reluctant reader excited about books, this is the post for you!
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So I guess it might be considered embarrassing that I have a reluctant reader in my house. With all my talk about how to get kids excited about books, you’d think that all my kids would be eager little bookworms.
In fact, my Seven is what I’d call a reluctant reader. He can read – and is actually quite good at it – but he’d rather not. He’d much rather toss a football, wrestle, play his keyboard, clean his desk … anything but read!
So I’ve made it my mission to discover books that will get this reluctant reader reading.
Dragons and Marshmallows, by Asia Citro
I start with this book because it’s the first chapter book that my Seven was willing to read with me after school – without complaining. (This was a big win!) The brilliant Zoey and Sassafras series is about a little girl who uses science to heal magical creatures.
This is a great series to use with a reluctant reader because:
- The chapters are short and engaging.
- Kids will find charming illustrations on nearly every 2-page spread.
- The science is sound.
- The stories are easy to follow.
- The characters are both likable and good role models.
Other books in the series:
Castle: How It Works, by David Macaulay
My second grader loved this book and read it several times. It’s part of a brilliant series by David Macauley called How it Works – and a much (much) simpler version of his other Castle book. Your reluctant reader can this in a single sitting.
Other books in the series:
- Eye: How it Works (my son didn’t want to read this one)
- Toilet: How it Works (as you might have guessed, this one was a hit)
I Am Rosa Parks, by Brad Meltzer
My Seven loves all the books in Meltzer’s series: Ordinary People Change the World. The books are long, so they’re worth reading in two sessions. Another idea is to take turns reading the pages – or have your child read the main text while you read all the speech bubbles.
Meltzer has a unique style which may not be for everyone – but we love his creative writing style alongside Christopher Eliopoulos’ irresistible artwork.
Other favorites in this series:
- I Am Harriet Tubman
- I Am Jackie Robinson
- I Am Helen Keller
- I Am Albert Einstein
- I Am Martin Luther King Jr.
Weird but True! by National Geographic Kids
There are a ton of books in this series, and they’re some of the most popular books at our house. While the Weird but True series won’t give your young readers a chance to follow the plot of a book, it will give them time to practice reading. This is because once they start a Weird but True book, most kids can’t resist them.
My second, third, and fifth grader love to read and quote the outrageous facts in these books!
Favorites from the series:
- Weird But True collector’s set (we own and love it)
- Weird But True! Stupid Criminals
- Weird But True! Food
Who Would Win? series by Jerry Pallotta
I first learned of this series when my Seven brought this book home as a gift from his teacher. I think they’re brilliant. Each book takes two animals and imagines what would happen if they met. Who would win? It takes into account their size, strength, speed, etc. The books are engaging, entertaining, and educational.
Some people are put off by the animal fight at the end, but it doesn’t bother us. In fact, my kindergartner, who is notorious for being frightened by very tame scenes in movies, has always loved listening to this series. In fact, just the other day he was on a mission to find the whole set scattered throughout the house. (Quite miraculously, he found them all!)
Favorites in this series:
- Who Would Win? Killer Whale vs. Great White Shark
- Who Would Win? Polar Bear vs. Grizzly Bear
- Who Would Win? Whale vs. Giant Squid
and many more!
I hope this has given you a place to start with your reluctant reader in second or third grade (or even higher). If you have recommendations to share, please post them in the comments! I’ll add to this list as we find more books that keep my Seven’s interest.