Best Book Types For Reluctant Readers
By April Connelley
Are you looking for books that help your students WANT to read? Are you trying to match reluctant readers with books they fall in love with? Books that make them keep coming back for me? Here’s my list of 5 types of books that kids just might love, even if they profess to “Hate Reading”. I’ve added some of my favorite titles to each category for you to check out.
Novels in Verse
Introduce your students to NOVELS IN VERSE. These novels are the typical length of traditional novels but told through poetry instead of prose. Typically, these types of novels have only a few words on the page, making them less intimidating. Don’t be fooled though, novels in verse are rich in vocabulary, description, and voice. Here are a couple of my favorites to get you started.
- Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
- All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg
- The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
- Unbound: A Novel in Verse by Ann E. Burg
- The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
- Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Help your students fall in love with POETRY. Poetry is a great way to help students fall in love with words and language. Poetry is excellent to use when students are intimidated by longer text because students can read short poems in one sitting. Once students start to love poems they can move to collections of poetry based on an author, topic, or theme. Here are a few favorites.
- A Light in the Attic by Shill Silverstein
- Out of Wonder Poems for Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander
- Book of Animal Poetry – National Geographic
Graphic Novels are highly interesting and interactive. The visuals help connect readers and build understanding. Graphic novels can be fiction or non-fiction and are very diverse. Don’t be fooled, reading a graphic novel is reading, to understand a reader has to do some complex work like inferring, following a character, and recognizing themes. Graphic Novels are very popular and help build relationships among readers. Here are some that I love.
- Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang
- They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
- The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown
- Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
- March: Book 1-3 by John Lewis
- Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown
JOKE BOOKS – Comic Strips – Fun Fact Books
JOKE BOOKS – Comic Strips – Fun Fact Books Who doesn’t like to laugh or know that little exciting tidbit of information that will shock everyone at the dinner table? Joke books, quick comics, or fun fact books are a great way to pique the interest of the most reluctant readers. Often these titles do not require a reader to read cover to cover so readers aren’t intimidated. Here are a few of my favorites.
- National Geographics Series – Weird But True
- Guinness World Record books
- Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids by Rob Elliot
Non-fiction Picture Books
Let’s round off this list with Non-fiction Picture Books. Picture books aren’t just for little kids, there are lots of titles that upper elementary and middle school students enjoy. Non-fiction titles are excellent for supporting content knowledge and building vocabulary. The illustrations or photographs often support understanding and make the text seem more manageable. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth
- Aliens from Earth: When Animals and Plants Invade Other Ecosystems by Mary Batten
- Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
- Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garger by Sue Macy
- Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome
I’d love to hear how you hook reluctant readers!
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