Books for Struggling Readers

7 Aug
 
 

Babymouse Series Graphic Novels by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Even though their covers are pink, and the protagonist female, boys fall for Babymouse also.

From the publisher: “Meet Babymouse, a sassy young mouse who dreams of glamour, excitement, adventure, straight whiskers, being queen of the world…Readers will love Babymouse’s vivid imagination…and the clever illustrations and hilarious storyline of brother-sister team Matthew and Jennifer Holm.”

 

Wonder  by R.J. Palacio

Auggie is heading to 5th grade at a mainstream school. Until now, his extreme facial deformity has kept him home and safe from peer ridicule. Readers enter into Auggie’s life as he embarks upon a challenge to get his classmates to see beyond his face.

 

The One and Only Ivan by Kathrine Applegate

Simply told story from a captive gorilla’s perspective. It is a sweet book looks at life from the other side of the cage.

From the publisher: “Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all….and then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family.”

 

Wild Wings by Gill Lewis

The reader takes an adventure with Callum while he tries to keep a promise to a girl and an endangered bird. Set in modern Ireland, it is a suspenseful story that explores grief, survival and respect for the natural world.

 

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Written in beautiful free verse narrative, the text is very assessable, but the story is deep and sophisticated. The reader follows 10 year old Ha, her mother, and three brothers as they are forced to flee Vietnam during the war. They end up in Alabama having to make extraordinary cultural shifts.

 

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and its sequel, Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger

The “Origami Yoda” books tell the story of a sixth-grade weirdo and his mysterious ability to dispense bona fide wisdom through a Yoda finger puppet (cartoons and marginalia included). The book is structured as a collection of stories gathered by Tommy and told by kids who either believe or don’t. Ages 8-12

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

The popularity of the “Wimpy” series ushered in many popular spin-offs. The best thing about these humorous graphic novels is that they appeal to all reading abilities. Because everyone in the class reads (and enjoys) them, the series creates a shared experience among the students, regardless of reading abilities. Ages 8-12

 
Other Books Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
 

Planet Tad by Tim Carvell

Tad has an agenda: Survive seventh grade.
He
also wants to: grow a mustache, get girls to notice him, and do a kickflip on his skateboard…
But those are not the
main reasons he started a blog. Tad just has a lot of important thoughts he wants to share with the world, like: Here is the first thing I have learned about having a dog in your house: Don’t feed them nachos. Not ever.

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald, illus. by J.P. Coovert

From the author’s website: “Charlie Joe Jackson may be the most reluctant reader every born. He does whatever it takes to get out of reading, and so far, it’s worked out really well. But one day in middle school he gets into trouble, and finds his impressive record is on the line. Will he push his luck and do whatever it takes to get out of reading, or will he finally bite the bullet and… gasp…read a book?!? “

Alvin Ho by Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham
Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce

 

Love that Dog and Hate that Cat  by Sharon Creech

Both books are written in easy-to-read free verse and are so compelling and funny that students find themselves rethinking poetry. Ages 8-12

 

Guys Write for Guys Read: Boys’ Favorite Authors Write about Being Boys: 

A collection of wonderful, short autobiographical stories written by favorite authors like Avi, Dan Gutman, Daniel Pinkwater, and Jerry Spinelli; edited by Jon Scieszka

Guys Read: Funny Business

From the publisher: “Ten stories guaranteed to delight, amuse, and possibly make you spit your milk in your friend’s face”

Guys Read: Thriller

From the publisher: “Ten original short stories of mystery, thrills, intrigue, and nefarious activity by ten of the best mystery/thriller writers of our day. Read these if you dare!”

The Series is best for older readers as independent read-younger readers need some guidance-not all stories are appropriate for elementary ages and these stories are not just for boys. Grades 5-9

 

Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories of Growing up Scieszka by Jon Sciezska

A hysterically funny autobiographical novel told with lots of visuals and exaggeration. Ages 9-12

 

Addie on the Inside by James Howe

From the publisher: “The Gang of Five is back in this third story from Paintbrush Falls. Addie Carle, the only girl in the group of friends is outspoken, opinionated, and sometimes…just a bit obnoxious. Told in elegant, accessible verse…gives readers a look at a strong, smart, and sensitive girl struggling with the box society wants to put her in.”

 

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

A 566-page novel told mostly through illustration. Kids love this fat book; it makes them feel like “real readers.” A Caldecott Medal winner. Ages 9-12

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Like “Hugo Cabret” this book is told mostly through pictures. From the publisher: “Ben and Rose wish their lives were different. Set fifty years apart, their two stories — Ben’s told in words, Rose’s in pictures–weave back and forth on a spectacular journey.”

 

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo 

A simply told touching story with short easy-to-read chapters.

Other books by Kate DiCamillo:      The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane      The Magician’s Elephant      Tiger Rising  

 

Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Nathan Hale

A funny retelling of the classic tale done in graphic novel format. Boys do like it, even though they resist it at first.

 

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen

A good short book packed with humor and adventure and a little introduction into how capitalism works. Ages 9-12 

And the sequel, Lawn Boy Returns.  

More books by Gary Paulsen include:
Liar, Liar: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Deception, and
Flat Broke: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Greed  

 

Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff by Jennifer L. Holm

The author uses everything from journal entries to refrigerator notes to tell a touching story about one girl’s challenging year. Ages 9-12

 

Many titles by Jerry Spinelli seem to get students hooked on reading in the middle elementary grades.  Loser and Love, Stargirl are favorites. Spinelli’s autobiography, Knots in My Yo-Yo String, is also a surprise hit.

Teachers who recommend these titles gain a lot of credibility with their students.

 
Young Adult Books
 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Simple cartoons help tell the story of Arnold Spirit, a fourteen-year-old Indian, who has not had an easy life.  Using his humor and sharp observation, Arnold grapples with his own ambitions, his Indian identity and the world around him.

 

A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd by Patrick Ness (Author), Jim Kay (Illustrator)

This powerfully illustrated YA book is a powerful story about the monster, both real and imagined, that thirteen-year-old Conor must face.

 
Compiled by Kyle Redford
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: