Friday, June 23, 2017

Books for Your Reluctant Reader

It's summer, I know, but it's super important to keep your kids reading throughout the summer.  Don't let the summer slide happen!  I'm not saying that they need to read ALL the time, but find a little time each day when reading is required.  Join a summer reading program at your local library.  Our library is amazing and they've had really great interactive events for kids.  It'll get them there, surrounded by books--so why not check a few out?

But what if you have a kid who doesn't like to read during the school year?  Well, I would say that they just haven't found the right book or author.

So here are some suggestions for you Middle Grade Readers.  Think anywhere from 5th--8th grade, depending on the book and the maturity level of the reader.

 Graphic Novels
If you haven't checked out graphic novels, get some!  Go to the library and ask where they keep their graphic novels for children.  Now, don't you start griping and telling me that graphic novels are just comics and don't count as reading.  What else do you think you're doing when you read a comic or a graphic novel?  You're reading words and pictures at the same time, using inference as you fill in the spaces of the story that can't be included due to the lack of narration.  It's a different kind of reading, but it's reading!  The narration takes place with both words and pictures and that's fine.  Here are some suggestions, based on my students' interests this past year.

 I had a group of kids passing this series around.  I read the first one and then couldn't get my hands on the next ones because they were so popular!  It's about a girl and her family who move into an old house that used to belong to a long lost relative.  After the first night they're all sucked into a magical realm and she must work to save them all.
 Raina Telgemeier has a few books out.  Ghosts is about a girl whose little sister has cystic fibrosis and so they move someone that will help her--but Catrina doesn't like this place.  She's especially nervous about it when she hears about all the ghosts haunting it and the Day of the Dead celebration that is approaching.  It might not be the best place for any of her family.

And by the way, boys and girls both have been drawn to Raina Telgemeier books!
This probably looks familiar!  Raina Telgemeier (the same from above) has taken the classic and turned it into a graphic novel.  This is perfect!  I had a number of kids start on these books and then transition to the original novels.  And there are a ton of the original novels--only four of the graphic novels.

Oh and it's great fun for an adult to read who was super into the books as a kid--trust me, I know. :)

Books in Verse
Sometimes the idea of reading a book that is pages and pages filled with words is daunting.  So find a book where the pages are filled with so many words.  Books in verse are stories told in poetic form.  Here are a couple of authors that stood out in my class this year.

 This is the story of Ha' and her life in Vietnam that changes drastically when war arrives to Saigon and she and her family must flee to America.  She struggles to find a place in Alabama where she feels safe with her family.

If your reader enjoys this, then introduce them to Thanhha Lai's other book Listen, Slowly --not written in verse.  In this book, Mai was born and raised in California.  She's looking forward to a spectacular summer, when she finds out that she has to travel to Vietnam with her dad and grandma so she can help her grandma.  While her dad is off treating patients, she is to look after her grandmother--who speaks no English.  Mai speaks no Vietnamese.  It's going to be a long summer.

I have not read Crossover because I just can't get through sports books.  I've tried.  Many times.  I have very little interest in sports and so it's hard for me to focus on characters who are so devoted to it.  But my students LOVED this book!  It was a hit with many of my boys and girls.

Gordon Korman

I have found that Gordon Korman is an excellent introduction into literature for my students who really don't want to read anything.  If I can get them to start Ungifted, then I can get them interested in other books as well.  Here are two that I would start with offering.

 Ungifted is hilarious! Donovan is ALWAYS getting in trouble.  In fact, we meet him while he's in detention for some stunt or another. Donovan ends up making a very bad decision and it results in the destruction of the gym of his school--oops!  Before his parents are contacted, though, he receives an invitation to attend the Academy of Scholastic Distinction--a complete mistake.  But it might the only way Donovan escapes whatever punishment is about to come down on him.  No one will ever think of looking for him in a school for geniuses!  Only he'll have to figure out a way to make them all think he belongs there.  Hilarity ensues!
Masterminds takes place in the town of Serenity, where none of the kids have ever left.  It's the nicest place ever and there is nothing bad ever happens there.  But when Eli's best friend is sent away after an accident, he begins to suspect that something is up.  The more he snoops, the more he discovers and it's not as serene as all the adults are trying to make them think.

This is great because it's a mystery and the kids are in charge, trying to outwit the adults.  It's also a series.

Gordon Korman has many other books as well, so he's a great author to get kids hooked on reading!

What about you?  Any book suggestions that you've found to be winners for your more reluctant readers?

No comments:

Post a Comment