Boy Reading Freepik
Boy Reading Freepik

Reluctant readers crop up in every classroom across the globe.

They find reading boring, or useless. Sometimes it stems from struggling with literacy difficulties, but oftentimes it’s because reading is just so ‘uncool’ these days.

So how do parents and teachers show kids the magic that books have to offer? There are many different strategies parents and teachers can use to promote reading.

But I always find that great source material forms the foundation for a lifelong love of reading books.

Great source material!

There is no room for elitism here either – if a child can read the classics but it puts them off, that’s an own goal as far as I’m concerned. What’s popular with kids, is usually popular for a very good reason.

What we should do is find topics and themes kids enjoy reading – both for themselves in peer activities, and independently by themselves.

For both boys and girls, I’ve listed below 5 authors/books/series that I have used in my own classrooms, to huge success in converting a myriad of readers.

Explore the authors and you’ll see that if your class have already covered it, there are other titles you can link up!

Read Next: 5 Best Feminist Books for Kids

1. Captain Underpants!

Author Dav Pikley has been nicknamed the saviour of ‘the reluctant reader.’

When Dav was a kid, he suffered from ADHD, dyslexia, and behavioral problems. He was so disruptive in class that his teachers made him sit out in the hall every day.

Luckily, Dav loved to draw and make up stories. He spent his time in the hallway creating his own original comic books.

In the second grade, Dav Pilkey created a comic book about a superhero named Captain Underpants. His teacher ripped it up and told him he couldn’t spend the rest of his life making silly books.

Fortunately, Dav was not a very good listener.

Pilkey’s work has  sold more than 80 million copies in print worldwide and has been translated into more than 25 languages – which is the best track record for finding books to get kids reading even more.

2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Up to 70,000 kids read Diary of a Wimpy Kid online, each day, to the joy of parents and teachers everywhere. Author Jeff Kinney worked on his book for almost eight years before showing it to a publisher in New York.

The story of middle-school weakling named Greg Heffley has captured the imagination of the world. To date, the online version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid has more than 80 million visits, and is typically read by more than 70,000 kids a day.

3. The Giggler Treatment

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing author Roddy Doyle for The Irish Times – and I had a lot to thank him for.

4. Everything Roald Dahl!

The BFG by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

Simply put – Roald Dahl should be a subject in himself.

Having inspired millions across the word with his stories, and spawning films, musicals, TV shows and more – sometimes the most obvious is often missed! From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to Matilda and more, Dahl has converted young and old alike to his whimsical ways.

Dahl’s collection can form a library of themselves and reach nearly every reader out there. Not only that, but with so much buzz about the new Netflix series – it’s a perfect time to introduce some literary magic.

5. Horrible Histories

Horrible Histories

As a child I loved Horrible Histories – and as a teacher I love them even more.

Is it the humour? The limitless topics? The endless supply of gruesome facts? Or because the text is just so approachable to virtually any reader – these books can promote literacy just as well as any prose.

From Angry Aztecs to the Rotten Romans, Cut-Throat Celts to Awesome Egyptians – if you have a reader who likes history, non-fiction or a playful look on the world – these books are your ticket.

Now sold as stand-alone books or collections – one collection is more than enough for a home or school library to instantly transform an interest in reading for pleasure.