Good Books for My Reluctant Reader?

Updated on June 29, 2016
F.B. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
22 answers

He is entering first grade. I am open to any ideas and suggestions

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answers from San Francisco on

Take him to the library. The children's librarian will be able to find EXACTLY what work's for him, that's what they do.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Evansville on

For him reading alone any of step into reading books.
For you to read with him
Magic treehouse books
June b Jones series
Wayside school series
Pet patrol series
Hank the cow dog series
Horrible Harry series


For him reading alone any of step into reading books.
For you to read with him
Magic treehouse books
June b Jones series
Wayside school series
Pet patrol series
Hank the cow dog series
Horrible Harry series

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Sacramento on

Our son hates to read and still does at 13. :( At that age, though, he did like Captain Underpants. My big tip is to lower the quality standards (forget any classics, for example) and go for what he likes. I found the grosser or more laid-back the writing style, the happier our son was with books. Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Fly Guy
Teacher from the Black Lagoon
Captain Underpants
Dr Seuss books
Magic Treehouse series

You library will likely have an Early Readers section. When I was volunteering in my son's school library, the Star Wars early readers were a huge hit. There are a ton of different topics (many are familiar, based on movies or characters the kids are familiar with). Also, many kids really like non-fiction, so if there is a subject of interest for your son, Beginning Facts books in your library would be a good place to start. When I was helping with struggling readers, I always brought a variety of action-packed, accessible books. While I can't stand reading aloud the Magic Treehouse books (I did it out of love, nothing more!), I know that kids like them because they do have the 'action' factor and the language is on their level. Short sentences (which I find annoying but young readers will find very manageable), word repetition (not too many new words but they are used repeatedly) and cliff-hanger chapter endings made these books very engaging for the kids.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

My 9 year old liked the Fly Guy books when he was in first grade. Does he have a favorite tv show or movie character? You might do well to find books about character or show. My 7 year old loves Thomas the Tank Engine, and he's never seen a Thomas book he didn't love. He also loves many of the kids Star Wars books.

Does he like it when you read to him? Keep doing that, because it will help inspire him.

ETA - B mentioned some non-fiction topics. I forgot how much both my sons like non-fiction books. It surprised me because I was never into them, but some kids really seek out the non-fiction books.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

What does he like?
At that age our son liked anything he could find about sharks, fires trucks and/or dinosaurs.

No matter what we were reading - we always made it something we did together.
We didn't just get him a book and expect him to read it on his own.
If I lost my voice and couldn't read to him out loud - he stepped up and read to ME out loud.
Even after he was reading and reading well (it really took off for him during the 2nd half of 2nd grade) - we'd still read our own books but together.
Even now to settle down before bed - and he just finished 11th grade - we'll read together on the couch for awhile.
Of course now he reads all sorts of things on his own - but he really loves reading for it's own sake - and I think this has been a big help to him academically.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

my son loves the step into reading books. he reads the step 1 independently, 2 with minimal help.
i suggest you borrow o few of those from your library and see if your child likes them they have a ton of subjects to read about from disney movies to science stories.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

What is he into?
Last year mine LO (kindergarten and also a reluctant reader) picked out Captain Underpants books. I don't think he actually understood a lot of the jokes - they are more of a 4-5 grade level and I read it to him because it was pitched to 4-5th grade vocabulary as well - but he thought the character names were so hilarious that he wanted to read anyway because what could be better to a 5 year old than his mom reading about a teacher named Professor Poopypants.

These books wouldn't have been my first choice, but it was what he was willing to read so I went with it.

He also likes Horrible Harry books - despite the title, much better books, IMO. They are funny books about kids doing silly things in a 2nd grade classroom (without the potty words of Captain Underpants). These books he could read on his own - they are short chapter books.

My now-older child loved Beverly Clearey books at that age: The Mouse and the Motorcycle series, all the books about Henry (Ramona's neighbor who got his own series spun off of the Ramona Quimby book series).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Comic books. My daughter started out with age appropriate comic books and fell in love with reading. Even though she couldn't always read the words, she loved looking at the pictures.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My boys always seemed to prefer non fiction over fiction. Every week we visited the library and they stocked up on non fiction books about whatever topic interested them that week.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Why is he reluctant? Does he struggle like my little one? Get him in a good reputable reading program, he will read for the rest of his life.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

I have two kids with learning disabilities in reading, one has Dyslexia. We went every single week to the library and found books about things they wanted to read about. My oldest son always gravitated toward books like owner's manuals, so that's what he read (no LD with him, but he was a kid that simply wouldn't do what he didn't want to do, so I didn't insist he read fiction if he didn't want to). Sometimes the books were too advanced for them, but I never said no to a book, even just skimming through it and looking at pictures is important to develop a love of reading. At this age, it's more about finding material that they want to read about rather than the right level of book for their age and reading level. I also read out loud to them a lot, so if the book was too advanced for them to read themselves I read it to them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

We had that problem. We spent many Saturday's at the library to see what would trigger his interests. Once found, we checked those out and I gave "incentives" to complete the books. He came to love them but it took a few years of this...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

At that age my son's teacher said let them read anything that they matter how silly! My son loved Captain Underpants and Fly Guy...basically books that were like comic books with humor. He loved the Owly comics (Owly and Wormy). He really loved the Cat Wings series (4 books). I recommend this cute and fierce. He liked The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). The next couple years he got into Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the Big Nate series, and the Artsy Fartsy series. Then the Eragon series came next. He just finished 6th grade and we sometimes like to read the same books now! He shares good books with me...I just read Mrs. Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children and loved it. He enjoyed Hatchet last year and had me read that one which was also good. He also had me read Wonder. He is having me read The Lost Track of Time now which his teacher loaned him It's so clever!! I hope your son has fun reading!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

Do you have a McKays? It is a used book store but very good condition and cheap prices. My son is a voracious reader but so is his parents! LOL My son likes to read about dogs or books on his favorite TV shows Disney has lots of these, so let him lead about interests and try to find books that cover those. My son also likes to read on his e-reader, its colorful and has the back light for easier reading before bed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My grandson doesn't like to read. However, he does like to go to the library and choose books. The children's librarian helps him. She has more success finding books than I do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Are you looking for things he can read himself (or out loud to you), or books that you can read to him? Below is what my son liked at that age. My daughter is entering kinder in the fall and I'm starting to read some of the chapter books to her. She's still only at the easiest Step 1 readers for herself though.

For him to read (most have several books in the series that can be read in any order)
Young Cam Jansen
Frog & Toad
Oliver Pig / Amanda Pig
Minnie & Moo
Frances (by Russell & Lillian Hoban)
Henry & Mudge
Anything by Cynthia Rylant
There are two different series of readers about characters named Arthur. One set is by Russell & Lillian Hoban, the other is by Marc Brown. Both are great.

For chapter books that I read to him (again, most of these are part of a series)
The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and the Fudge sequels (note: one of these books in this series has a part where they talk a lot about Santa and whether to believe or not, so you may want to skip those pages somehow!)
Ivy & Bean
Charlotte's Web

When he's a little better at reading, some easy chapter book series to read himself :
Cam Jansen (chapter books)
Arthur Chapter Books by Marc Brown
My Weird School
Katie Kazoo
Horrible Harry and the spinoff Song Lee

If he's into sports, especially baseball, my son LOVES the author Matt Christopher, especially the set about the Homerun Kid. He has books about several other sports too. There is also another set of books called Ballpark Mysteries that are easy and he loves.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Here are some of my son's favorites. He was in 1st grade last year.

Fly Guy series
Elephant and Piggie series
Mercy Watson series
Junie B Jones series (although my 1st grade son did not care for them at all)
Sometimes You Barf by Nancy Carlson
Young Cam Jansen series
Magic Tree House series
Ready Freddy series (my son loves these)
Henry and Mudge series
Chicken Squad series by Doreen Cronin
National Geographic Weird but True books
National Geographic Kids Readers (different levels, lots of topics)
Ranger Rick magazine
Dr. Suess books
Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas (and all her other books!)
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Nate the Great
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
age appropriate graphic novels.
he's probably too young to read the Harry Potter series but he'd totally dig having it be read to him.

I will echo the post below that encourages you to ask the children's librarian. Do you guys do a lot of independent reading? One thing that helped us was when we'd snuggle up on a Sunday afternoon and I'd read my Stephen King while he read whatever he was reading through. His first grade teacher should be able to offer you some input as well if this is just his personal preference or if there is a lag or he's got an issue that can be addressed. Boys take FOREVER to turn some of these developmental corners. try to be patient with him, he'll get there........your insight and concern show that you are being a great mom to him. :-) S.



answers from Atlanta on

Good question on WHY he is reluctant--if it's that the actual skill is lagging, that is different from preferring to be on a screen or building with Legos.

Our son was a reluctant reader too, and for a long time, the only books he would take out from the library were graphic novels (like cartoon magazines, but in book form). You might see whether he enjoys those. They are limited in terms of developing the ability to read sentence after sentence, however at least the kid would be holding a book and enjoying it. Also, it probably gives practice with following a story line and going from page to page. Maybe some familiar picture books which he can read to you, also?

There are lots of Star Wars stories/serials out there, so maybe that will hit the spot. Ultimately, the series which got our son reading after second grade was The Secrets of Droon by Tony Abbott. If your library has it, you could give it a try.

Finally, I echo the suggestion to bring him to the staff in the children's section of the library, get some suggestions, and let them introduce him to the appropriate set of shelves. Letting the kid pick out their own books is great fun for them.


answers from Orlando on

Find books that interest him, characters, games, etc.. I would go to the library or a book store and have him look around.

My daughter started with these types of books.



answers from Oklahoma City on

If the book doesn't have interesting characters or situations in it they won't bond with it and learn to love what reading a book gives us.

Who is his favorite cartoon character? Who does he love to watch on TV? What movies does he want to watch over and over?

One of my grandkids wanted to read Arthur books, over and over and over and over. I hate Arthur, okay? Another loved the Berenstain Bears. OMG!! I hated them too.

But I read them with them so they'd be caught up in the story, they'd want to learn to love books.

One loved Spiderman and that was okay but still, I'd rather sit on nails than read a story book from that age group ever again.

I did love the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo books with our girl. That was fun. I also got very tired of Sandra Boynton. Some books you can read over and over and some you want to lose and never find

The things we do for our kids. Reading something they love when you are so tired of it or hate it but still have to read it out loud with emotion and character and making it exciting and fun is a thing that makes us super memories when we're gone.

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