Reluctant Reader Alert!

I was talking to my excellent sister-in-law, who had asked us to
recommend some kid magazines for her local library to stock. We, of
course, put in Muse, our favorite, along with a few other choice titles
(Babybug, for some reason, still proves unnervingly compelling). She
was giving us an update as Diana was whirling around the house reading
aloud from her favorite feature, the Muse letterbox, wherein nice nerdy
kids from the world over send in the most creative threatening letters
they can.

My sister-in-law told us that they'd gotten Muse, but also a few others
she wasn't as thrilled with, including Sports Illustrated for Kids,
which apparently was thrown in there for the "reluctant readers." Which
got me to thinking: there are many kids who fit this (to-me) new
description. Kids who, for whatever reason, just aren't into it. We had
a post bowing to the awesome powers of Horrid Henry in this regard, but
I was wondering, do people have any other suggestions, things that
really worked? A lot of people tend to push these kids (many of them
boys) in the directions of butts and poop jokes. Which I think,
personally, is fine. I mean, I like a poop joke as much as the next
person. But are there other ones that bear recommending? I mean,
Captain Underpants comes to mind, but what else? Help us out in the
comments, and someday I will try to piece together some sort of
coherent recommendations list.

And Happy Thanksgiving! And check out the new, improved blog list! Enjoy your turkey!

10 thoughts on “Reluctant Reader Alert!

  1. The (somewhat simplified) story of my family includes the tale that my older brother “never read anything except Sports Illustrated” until he got a fantastic English teacher in high school. He’s a literature professor now. So there’s a vote in favor of SI.

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  2. My two boys were pretty easily hooked by Mary Amato’s series The Riot Brothers. Nothing offensive (if my memory serves me) but tremendously funny and entertaining, if you’re six and eight years old.

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  3. Sports Illustrated for Kids is a favorite of the big reader in my family, actually. We’re still reading the Horrid Henry series and my non-reader is loving the Fudge books (Tales of a Fourth Grade NOthing, Double Fudge, etc.).

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  4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is great for reluctant boy readers. I think the frequent pictures and handwriting-like font makes them less intimidating.
    There’s also a series of books by Dan Gutman called the Baseball Card Adventures (about a boy who uses baseball cards to travel to the past to meet famous baseball players) that can hook sports fans.

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  5. I think Babette Cole’s books tend to veer in the “poop” direction, but they are hugely entertaining. We started with Dr. Dog–I love the way he describes the digestive system as “tubes”!

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  6. It’s so important to draw attention to reading, and attract reluctant readers to it,especially boys. In fact, I’ve recently completed a feature magazine article on this subject that came out in October, “Help for Struggling, Reluctant Readers.”
    I grew up as a reluctant reader, in spite of the fact that my father published over 70 books. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for tween boys, that avid boy readers and girls enjoy just as much.
    My blog, Books for Boys http://booksandboys.blogspot.com is dedicated to drawing attention to the importance of reading.
    Keep up your good work.
    Max Elliot Anderson

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  7. My 6 year old son isn’t a reluctant reader but he’s enthralled at the moment by a British series by Cressida Cowell about a Viking boy named Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III who learns to speak Dragonese. Hiccup struggles with not being the standard barbarian material and the expectations around being the chief (Stoick the Vast)’s son. It’s very funny but also a tribute to brains and heart over brawn. The audio versions are read by a terrific Scottish actor.
    Right now my son is reading ‘A Heroe’s Guide to Deadly Dragons’ and loving it.

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  8. My son definitely fell into the “reluctant reader” category. That all changed when he discovered the Goosebumps book series. At 8 years old, he loves all things “scary” and this was just perfect – suspenseful and scary – but not so much so that he couldn’t fall asleep after reading it. We noticed the change in his reading habits when, after my husband or I would read a few chapters to him and tell him lights out, we would catch him reading to himself because he had to find out what happened next. At parent teacher conferences this fall, his teacher commented that she “can’t get his nose out of a book” during the day — I can only say we were simultaneously shocked and delighted!
    Love your site by the way!

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  9. Horrible Harry series
    Flat Stanley series
    Magic Treehouse series
    Magic Schoolbus books
    Robert Munsch books (very funny)
    and for younger reluctant readers, or those having a harder time learning to read at all, anything by Mo Willems, especially the Elephant and Piggie books.

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  10. I’d add the Hank the Hounddog series, and my brother enjoyed Matt Christopher books which was surprising because he typically enjoyed neither sports nor reading …

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