Topic | Transitioning to Chapter Books for Reluctant Reader

This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Hope 3 years, 7 months ago.

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  • Hope

    My 7 YO ds is a very reluctant reader.  He actually reads very well, but doesn’t think he does.  If he comes to one word on a page that he doesn’t just know, he wants to stop reading the entire book.  His personality is that he is very hard on himself.  We encourage, read with him, etc., and it has gotten better.  I will “catch” him reading on his own sometimes but not very often.  He does love me to read to him, so he enjoys books just not on his own too much.

    OTOH, my 6 YO ds is an avid reader, but tends to stick with picture books.  He is a very strong reader and enjoys reading.

    Dh suggests that we do a reading rewards program in our family this summer to encourage them both onto chapter books and also hopefully get my 7yo to enjoy reading more.

    I would like to make a list of books for them to pick from and would love some suggestions on some especially for my 7yo who is reluctant.  I want to set him up for success with this.  We own lots of books and have a library literally across the street, but it overwhelms them.  I think a list to pick from will be better.

    He has enjoyed the Nate the Great series (I know they are twaddly), loves Little Bear and Frog & Toad (though these are really too easy for him), but doesn’t like Billy and Blaze for some reason.  I’m hoping to show him he can read things like The Mouse and the Motorcyle, Hank the Cowdog, Boxcar Children, etc.

    What books or series would you suggest at this level as we try to encourage this transition?  I’m also thinking he might do better if I have him read me a chapter a day (or a few pages) instead of just handing him a book and saying go read.  Any other suggestions are welcome?  I have always loved reading and it makes me sad when he says he doesn’t like it.


    My oldest LOVED the My Father’s Dragon trilogy when he was around that age.


    Billy and Blaze is a good series your library may have. I think there are 5-6 of them. My sons love those books.


    We had great success with the Veritas Press reading lists for 1st and 2nd grade:

    My oldest really gained confidence in his reading during this stage. It took him a while to read through every one of these books (we added Sonlight readers, also), but it was time WELL spent. He now is a very advanced, confident reader. I think this stage also helped give him a love of reading.

    BTW, he read all of the 1st grade books out loud to me…this added to the length of time to get through them, but it worked well for him. Then he moved to reading by himself with the 2nd grade books. We tried the comprehensive guides, but they were too much busy work. Then I found CW and realized why they didn’t work!!

    Also, Living Books Library has a great list for reluctant readers:

    I plan on adding these wonderful books to my youngest’s reading list.


    Some may disagree, but I think sometimes twaddle (or at least semi-twaddle:) is okay to get a reluctant reader started.  Nate the Great was the only thing that got my son (he was 6 at the time) interested in reading.  Once we finished that, he really took off and is reading very well.  He is really enjoying Encylopedia Brown.  He also really liked anthing by Clyde Robert Bulla.  Has he read Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant?  We get all our books from the library and I always pull book ideas from lists (SCM and Sonlight) and order them so he doesn’t end up searching for books that are too easy/hard/twaddle. 

    Also, do you have a Pizza Hut in your area?  We do the Bookit program with them, you sign up in June, and the kids get a free personal pizza each month if they meet the reading goals that you as the teacher have set.  We do ice cream cones for the ones who aren’t 5 yet, or who can’t have gluten:) 

    Maybe you could take turns reading chapters, he would read one to you one day, then you could read the next to him the next day, etc.  Maybe that would help him enjoy it still and see he can do it well?


    Check with your local library re summer reading programs.  Last year our boys got free passes to an amusement partk for joining their reading club.  It worked out great because the weekend we went they had a volunteer firefighter appreciation day and my husband got in free, too.  I just had to pay for the basic bracelet. (I’m not an amusment park ride fan, but the boys and dad had a ball!)


    Thank you for all the suggestions and links!  It is very helpful.  I do need to check into summer reading programs around here.  Our local library has a summer program for the child to attend but not an incentive thing.  But we do have Pizza Hut and some other possible options nearby.  

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