A tutor’s guide to books for primary aged children.
“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”
As a mother, a reader and a tutor of reading this quote makes perfect sense. Of course you want your child to be a lover of reading! We all know that reading books is one of the best ways to prepare your child for school and that good readers often excel at other subjects other than literacy. However if we want to in-still this love of reading in our children then the challenge is on to find books that will encourage them and then get them hooked until the very last page. We have to find favourite books for reluctant readers!
What can you do if your child just isn’t interested in books, never mind reading and you are left wondering…. What are we doing wrong? The reluctant reader needs to be persuaded by the right books to capture their imagination and open their minds to the possibility that a book can provide them with a means of escapism and relaxation even more so than a playstation or an ipod. So, if your child thinks that books are something you use to prop up the legs of a wonky table, how can you bring them back?
The following is a shortlist of books which I believe will have even the most reluctant readers coming back for more. They are split into the three categories: aged 4 to 6; aged 7 to 9 and aged 9 to 11+. There are of course many more I could have chosen and many reading this will have their own opinions about suitable choices. Please feel free to comment and I will update the list in the future.
These books can be shared with children aged 4 to 6. Read them to your children and encourage your reluctant readers to have a go themselves.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
Firmly established as a modern classic which is loved by children the world over. Read this aloud to children of any age, or let your blossoming readers have a go themselves. “He has terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws”. Soon the whole family will know these memorable lines off by heart!
Hop on Pop by Dr Seuss
Dr Seuss’ original combination of humour and simplicity makes his books perfect for early readers. Hop and Pop, Cup and Pup, Mouse and house – Dr Seuss shows how simply words are made and how they can be broken down and read by just changing a letter. In his own unique way Dr Seuss makes reading fun and effortless.
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
Stanley is an ordinary boy until a notice board falls on top of him and makes him completely flat. Luckily, Stanley is of a cheerful disposition and he adapts readily to his new, flat self. Reluctant readers will not be able to resist following him as he gets posted to visit a friend, becomes a human kite and helps to capture some sneak art thieves.
Dr. Dog by Babette Cole
If humour is the way to get your child reading then this is the book for you. Dr. Dog is the down trodden doctor of a very unhygienic family. Follow his adventures as he sorts out their disgusting illnesses. Be warned, this book is hilarious and a great way to introduce children to the basics of hygiene as well as the wonderful world of literature.
Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus! by Tony Milton
Shake, shake, shudder near the sludgy old swamp. The dinosaurs are coming! Get ready to romp! Instantly appealing with its irresistible rhyming text and exuberant illustrations, this book will keep your reluctant reader’s attention. The rhyming text and repetition make it easy to anticipate the last word of every line making it a book that will be returned to time and time again.
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl retells six fairy tales… Did you know that Snow White was the leader of a gang of gambling dwarfs? Or that Little Red Riding Hood collected wolfskin coats? Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs – they’ll never be the same again!
These books are for readers aged 7 to 9 who are increasing in confidence but still need encouragement to go it alone.
The Ha Ha Bonk Book by Janet and Alan Ahlberg
This book is by far the most eagerly-read book in any class library and a firm favourite that has stood the test of time. Even the most reluctant readers will happily sit down and avidly read it from cover to cover. There are jokes to tell your mum, your dad, your teacher and also some NOT to tell your teacher… Joke books may not be your first choice for literary sophistication, but your child will love them.
The Worst Witch Series by Jill Murphy
Mildred Hubble, the heroine of the Worst Witch book series, is a good-hearted, but bungling young witch-in-training at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches, who never seems to get anything right. The stories progress quickly and are easy to follow. Even a reluctant reader will not be able to resist following Mildred as she jumps from one disaster to the next. Children might even be more likely to pick up this book at the moment as they may have seen it serialised on CBBC.
Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend by Francesca Simon and Tony Ross
Great for encouraging children to read. The stories are short but they move quickly and are very funny. Henry is a well-loved character and children, even our reluctant readers will love and relate to him. He is always getting in trouble – nothing ever happens quite the way it is supposed to do and this spells disaster for those around him .
The Guinness Book of World Records (Any Year)
Let weird and wonderful facts fool them into reading! The world’s oldest dog or the longest journey made while carrying a fridge to name but a few! Remember that reading for information is just as valuable as reading fiction and fun and interesting facts are a great way to get the reluctant reader reading for their own enjoyment.
The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer
With five brothers in one house things often get a bit tricky! An afternoon in the library sounds like a good plan. However, can Will and Marty survive the legendary librarian and her gas-powered spud-gun? This funny and exciting adventure with touching consequences will charm even the most reluctant reader.
Georges Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl
It is hard to choose from the enormous catalogue of Roald Dahl books. All are great for reluctant readers. His books are funny and crazy but good and bad people get what’s coming to them, and there’s lots of fun along the way. George’s grouchy grandmother needs a taste of her own medicine–and George knows just the right ingredients to put into it!
These books are for readers aged 9 to 11 who just need to find a book that keeps their attention!
The Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross
One of the great characters of children’s books, the Demon Headmaster rules his school with his menacing green eyes through which he hypnotises the pupils. When Dinah arrives she sets up SPLAT, a group designed to protect the pupils from the head’s paranormal powers and to break his dictatorship. A brilliant series for readers who like a spooky plot line.
Charlotte’s Web by E.H White
This children’s classic about the power of friendship, has been a firm favourite for generations and has lost none of its charm. A lovable pig named Wilbur makes an unlikely farmyard friend in the form of Charlotte the spider. This unusual union helps save Wilbur from certain death. A must read for all blossoming readers.
Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo
Let’s tempt our reluctant readers with a spectacular farce and laugh-out-loud humour. Doctor Proctor invents a fart powder that can send people into outer space and adventures ensue as people try to steal it. Very funny with random and weird moments. A hilarious romp that they won’t be able to put down.
The Tracy Beaker Series by Jacqueline Wilson
Tracy Beaker is a tough feisty little girl in a children’s home who longs to live in a real home with a real family one day. It’s funny and sad in equal measure but ultimately uplifting and children will want to read it again and again. This is a beautifully observed, touching and often very funny tale, all told in Tracy’s own words.
Groosham Grange by Anthony Horowitz
This book is a must read for all children. But be warned, once they start reading they’ll be hooked! The story follows David, who is expelled from his posh boarding school and sent to Groosham Grange. Will he get out alive? The mixture of humour and horror makes it a real page turner and perfect for reluctant readers.
Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer
If you thought fairy stories were just for kids then this book will change your mind. Artemis Fowl tells the gripping story of a clever yet sinister young boy who has discovered a secret world of “fairies”. Not fairies as you would probably think of them but more like a race of little people with limited magical skills. Original and inventive, there are not many young readers who will fail to love it.
If your child is a reluctant reader they may need some extra support with reader to build their confidence. On Target Tuition can help. Call 92675071 or visit our website to find out more.