Top ten books for reluctant and dyslexic readers

Tom Palmer, in the Guardian, recently published his top 10 books for reluctant and dyslexic readers, and the results made for interesting reading for me, as a writer on children’s literature and a primary school librarian.

You can read the whole article here.

The list is mostly indicative of the reading preferences the children in my primary school possess. Favourites like:

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid (series)

Dork Diaries (series)

Alex Rider (series)

Horrid Henry (series)

Rainbow Fairies (series)

are all regularly borrowed and requested in my library. In fact, the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid has spent less than a whole week on the shelf since we bought it in November, and each time years 3-4 come in, the girls head straight to the Rainbow Fairies section.

The thing is, children often enjoy series, and if a reluctant reader can be encouraged to try one of the above-mentioned books, and likes it, the great news for them is there are more where it came from. Boys particularly enjoy reading their way through series, often competing with each other in the process, while girls devour school stories, such as those by Enid Blyton (still popular with the children in my school).

While I agree with Palmer’s list, I would have also added the following recommendations:

  • The Mr Gum series, by Andy Stanton – hilarious, well illustrated and chunky enough to look like a decent sized book without the density of text
  • David Walliams’ books – while not really a series, they all do have the recurring character of shopkeeper Raj, and the humour and illustrations make them appealing – Awful Auntie has been constantly on loan since November
  • Beast Quest – another popular series that appeals to both boys and girls
  • Comics and cartoons, such as the Asterix and Lucky Luke series – these are borrowed by girls and boys from years 2 to 6 (7-11) and are always chosen as relaxation reads when children come into the library in breaks
  • Non-fiction – this is a huge attraction to our pupils. They like the easy facts in things such as the Guinness Book of Records and animal books in particular are extremely popular.

Children are lucky these days in the sheer breadth of choice available. I firmly believe that there is a book for every child out there – the difficulty of course is in finding it when time is so limited these days.


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