I've posted on this before, but I thought it might be really helpful to have it all in one place. You might be a parent, or a student - looking for some inspiration. This post covers all ages, stages and abilities.
A lot of boys struggle with reading. And yes, it usually is boys - sorry guys. A typical journey is from class readers and Horrid Henry to Diary of a Wimpy Kid straight onto Call of Duty, never to be seen again. Unlike great literature, shoot-em ups are easy. They’re designed to be challenging but within reach, reward you, make you feel good, make you want to do more. If only school were so compelling.
Much as I love Shakespeare, it’s not exactly an adrenaline rush - unless you’re reading Manga Shakespeare, that is. It took me twelve years to get past the first three pages of Martin Amis’ magnificent literary maelstrom, Money. Notes from Underground is dazzling, but not for the faint hearted.
Entry level to these novels is high. Kids need to step up gradually but for too many, they stick on the rung with too-easy childhood favourites because it’s comforting. After a few years, it’s boring and they drop off the ladder altogether.
Reading Lists For All Stages
If yours are struggling to step up from ground level, you might find this reading list helpful, with books for boys age 5-8 from the lowest level up.
If they’re age 7 - 10 and teetering on the edge of Wimpy Kid with nowhere else to go, try this.
If you’re lucky enough to have (or be) a boy from age 10-13 who loves reading, but has eaten up all the available Morpugo, Horowitz and is looking a bit twitchy, you need something a little more challenging like this list of recent, challenging books.
Early teens aren’t always ready for Dostoevsky, but they might like this carefully prepared blend of non-fiction, sport, survival, history, adventure and thrillers of a more literary kind aimed squarely at boys age 13 up. Find these here.
If Your Child is Dyslexic, or Extremely Reluctant
Ransom's catalogue has an amazing choice of fab books. They include every possible style and reading age: from football, factual, quirky girl, vampire, thrillers, action, manga, adventure, to teen issues. Find the ISBN number of the books you'd like. Then, type it into the 'search' box on an online bookseller or take the ISBN to your librarian or bookseller. Or you can do an advanced search for publisher: 'Ransom', in 'books', for 'children.'
Barrington Stoke is a publisher that specialises in dyslexia and reluctant readers. Find all their books here, including reviews.
If your teenager won't read at all, try typing 'quick reads 2013', 2012 or 2011 (etc) into an online bookseller’s searchbox or ask at your local bookseller or library. This series of books are all rated 4-5 stars and are designed to hold an adult or teenager's interest, while being very easy to read. Books are by big names, including Andy McNabb, Maeve Binchy, Val McDermid, James Patterson and more.
For Dyslexics: Is it OK to ‘Read’ Audiobooks Instead?
Of course! Audiobooks can be a lighter way in. The BBC Merrison and Williams Sherlock Holmes adventures are superb, and Conan Doyle’s fast paced plotting can’t be bettered. What’s more, it’ll give them their daily dose of complex vocabulary and sentence construction. Easy!
Find out more about Dyslexia and get free resources at the British Dyslexia Association’s website, or go here find out how I’ve been using mindmaps to help dyslexic students.