Books for Reluctant Readers

If your middle-school and high-school students are reluctant to read because they can’t find a “good” book, perhaps one of these will motivate them. 

  1. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (2010).  Grades 4-7.  In the summer of 1968, Delphine and her little sisters fly across country to Oakland to spend the summer with their mother, who they have not seen in years.  Their mother, who seems to resent their intrusion, sends them every morning to a camp run by the Black Panthers.
  2. Countdown by Deborah Wiles (2010).  Grades 5-8.  Franny, a fifth grader in suburban Maryland, must deal with her quirky family, as well as her fear of impending war during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  3. Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm (2007).  Grades 5-8.  In the summer of 1953 Penny loves baseball, swimming, butter pecan ice cream and spending time with her father’s large Italian family.  Her father died when she was still a baby, but none of her family will talk to her about his death. 
  4. The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (1995).  Grades 5-8.   Ten-year-old Kenny and his family go to Birmingham, Alabama to visit his grandmother, heading straight for one of the darkest moments in America’s history.
  5. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (2007).  Grades 5-9.  On Wednesday afternoons when half the seventh-grade class goes to Hebrew school and the other half to Catechism, Holling, the lone Presbyterian, finds himself alone with Mrs. Baker, who takes the opportunity to expose Holling to Shakespeare.  Oh how she must hate him!
  6. Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen (2007).  Grades 6-9.  A young boy is sent to his cousin’s farm to spend the summer, where he encounters the rigors of farm life and his daring cousin Harris.
  7. Peeled by Joan Bauer (2008).  Grades 6-9.  Hildy Biddle, a reporter for her high school paper, is investigating rumors of a ghost at the old Ludlow apple orchard.
  8. Flip by Martyn Bedford (2011).  Grades 7-10.  One early summer morning, 14-year-old Alex wakes up in a strange body in a strange bed in a strange room in a strange house, and he has no recollection of anything that has happened since last December.
  9. Trapped by Michael Northrup (2011).  Grades 7-10.  Seven teenagers are trapped in their rural New England high school by the worst  nor’easter on record.
  10. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2009).  Grades 7-10.  Fourteen-year-old Junior, a bright but poor Spokane Indian living on a reservation, finds himself stuck between two worlds when he decides to leave the reservation school to attend an all-white school 22 miles from home.
  11. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton (1967).  Grades 7-10.  Ponyboy lives on the wrong side of town with his two older brothers.  The brothers spend a lot of time with their gang, the Greasers, who are constantly at war with the Socs, the rich kids from the other side of town.
  12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999).  Grades 9-12.  This coming-of-age novel tells the story of Charlie, a brilliant high-school freshman, whose best friend committed suicide.

Judith Barker

Bonnie James

About Advanced Reading Concepts

President and co-founder of Advanced Reading Concepts Speed Reading Plus, I'm passionate about helping people reach their career and education goals through superior reading skills.
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6 Responses to Books for Reluctant Readers

  1. Stephanie says:

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a timeless choice. Been meaning to check out The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, as well.

    Like

  2. bibliopirate says:

    When I was growing up one of my best friends was dyslexic and he still greatly enjoyed reading The Redwall books by Brian Jacques.

    Like

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