Many kids love to read, or to have books read to them. However, it can be frustrating for parents when their children aren’t naturally inclined to read. Often reluctant readers are discouraged from being interested in books because they have difficulty reading, get bored easily, or cannot focus for very long. All hope is not lost, though! There are ways to help kids enjoy reading. Yes, even reluctant readers in middle school can get lost in the right books. Here are my best tips and book series suggestions to rope them in.
Offer reluctant readers books and reading material that align with the reader’s interests and reading level. Graphic novels, magazines, and audiobooks can be good options. One way to help reluctant readers is to select books that have a lot of action or adventure. Children who get bored easily will be more inclined to read a book that keeps them engaged through an active, thrilling, or suspenseful plot line.
Comic books are also great for reluctant readers because there is minimal text and lots of engaging illustrations, and still have all the elements of a typical chapter book. My son burned through the Diary of A Wimpy Kid Series and the Captain Underpants book series. I figure if he likes reading, it is a win! One step at a time. The great works of fiction can some later!
10 Best Book Series for Reluctant Readers In Middle School
When I help a reluctant reader find a book, I love to introduce them to a book series, such as the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. This is a handy little trick because if the child ends up loving the first book, he or she will want to read the next one. Get kids hooked on reading with a good series and before you know it, you have an avid reader on your hands.
Below are 10 of the first books in my favorite series for reluctant readers. These book series are recommended for ages 8 and up. Enjoy! (All book descriptions are taken from www.goodreads.com).
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon…
Judy Moody by Megan McDonald
“Judy Moody was in a mood. Not a good mood. A bad mood. A mad-faced mood.”
To start, Judy Moody doesn’t have high hopes for third grade. Her new desk won’t have an armadillo sticker with her name on it. Her new classroom will not have a porcupine named Roger. And with her luck, she’ll get stuck sitting in the first row, where Mr. Todd will notice every time she tries to pass a note to her best friend, Rocky. An aspiring doctor, Judy does have a little brother who comes in handy for practicing medicine, a cool new pet, and a huge Band-Aid collection.
Judy also has an abundance of individuality and attitude, and when Mr. Todd assigns a very special class project, she really gets a chance to express herself! Megan McDonald’s spirited text and Peter Reynolds’s wry illustrations combine in a feisty, funny first chapter book for every kid who has ever felt a little out of sorts.
Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid (Stink #1) by Megan McDonald
In his first solo adventure, Judy Moody’s younger bother stars in this funny, homespun saga that reflects the familiar voice of a kid who pictures himself with super powers to deal with the travails of everyday life. Illustrations.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.
In book one of this debut series, Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion.
Big Nate: In a Class by Himself (Big Nate #1) by Lincoln Peirce
Nate knows he’s meant for big things. REALLY big things.
But life doesn’t always go your way just because you’re awesome.
Trouble always seems to find him, but Nate keeps his cool no matter what.
He knows he’s great. A fortune cookie told him so.
For fans of the hilarious Diary of a Wimpy Kid series: Here comes BIG NATE, accidental mischief maker and definitely NOT the teacher’s pet
The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues Book 1) by Rick Riordan
Minutes before she died Grace Cahill changed her will, leaving her descendants an impossible decision: You have a choice – one million dollars or a clue.
Grace is the last matriarch of the Cahills, the world’s most powerful family. Everyone from Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost. 39 clues hidden around the world will reveal the family’s secret, but no one has been able to assemble them. Now the clues race is on, and young Amy and Dan must decide what’s important: hunting clues or uncovering what REALLY happened to their parents
Moving Day (Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls #1) by Meg Cabot
When nine-year-old Allie Finkle’s parents announce that they are moving her and her brothers from their suburban split-level into an ancient Victorian in town, Allie’s sure her life is over. She’s not at all happy about having to give up her pretty pink wall-to-wall carpeting for creaky floorboards and creepy secret passageways-not to mention leaving her modern, state-of-the-art suburban school for a rundown, old-fashioned school just two blocks from her new house.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Fudge #1) by Judy Blume
Life with his little brother, Fudge, makes Peter Hatcher feel like a fourth grade nothing. Whether Fudge is throwing a temper tantrum in a shoe store, smearing mashed potatoes on the walls at Hamburger Heaven, or trying to fly, he’s never far from trouble. He’s an almost three-year-old terror who gets away with everything, and Peter’s had it up to here! When Fudge walks off with Dribble, Peter’s pet turtle, it’s the last straw. Peter has put up with Fudge for too long. Way too long! How can he get his parents to pay attention to him for a change?
Amelia’s Notebook (Amelia’s Notebooks #1) by Marissa Moss
When Amelia’s mom gives her a journal for her ninth birthday, Amelia has a place to share her truest feelings at last!
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief. He must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
Reluctant readers are individuals who are hesitant or unwilling to engage in reading, often due to a variety of reasons such as difficulties with comprehension, lack of interest in the material, or challenges with reading fluency. Encouraging reluctant readers to read can involve finding books that match their interests, providing support and encouragement, and creating a positive reading environment. What are your favorite book series recommendations for the reluctant readers in your life? Share in the comments!