As a former teacher who loves to read, I had a hard time dealing with the fact that my oldest son was a somewhat reluctant reader. He liked to read; he was good at reading. He simply didn’t want to sit still long enough to get through a chapter book. He saw all the words on the page, and he just shut down.
After a lot of trial and error, I found the books that resonated most with him were silly stories with lots of illustrations. He needed books that didn’t feel like a regular chapter book. Books that blended the best of picture books and novels were the key to getting him more interested in reading books that were at his level. These books helped him “cross over” into more challenging works, and helped him see that he was capable of much more than he thought.
If you have a reluctant reader in your home or classroom, one of these books series might be helpful in getting him or her to enjoy sitting down with a book. Who can resist a story that’s bright, bold, and laugh-out-loud funny?
5 Chapter Book Series for Reluctant Readers
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The Kung Pow Chicken Series by Cyndi Marko — By chance, my son grabbed one of these books off of a library display, and he ended up falling in love with this series. He blew through the first book in less than a day, which is not his usual pace. But he couldn’t get enough of this silly series about crime-fighting chickens. This series of books is from Scholastic’s Branches imprint, which we’ve found to be a great source for fun reads.
The Haggis and Tank Unleashed Series by Jessica Young — My son is an animal lover, so he couldn’t resist this series about two silly dogs who go on some amazing adventures. These books even include some fun discussion questions at the end! There are only three books in the series right now, but we are hopeful it will continue.
The Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot Series by Dav Pilkey — The first book in this series was part of my son’s second-grade classroom library, and he came home from school raving about it. He recently checked the second book out from the library, and asked if he could read it aloud to me (of course, I said yes). This bright and colorful series sneaks some great facts in with the fun, and it has all the humor you’d expect from Pilkey, who is best known for the Captain Underpants series. It also features illustrations from one of our favorites, Dan Santat.
The Bad Kitty Series by Nick Bruel — Bad Kitty always finds a way to get herself into trouble, but along the way she teaches the reader a few things. Bad Kitty for President was especially helpful in teaching about primaries and elections — all in a way that held my son’s interest and made him laugh.
The My Weird School Series by Dan Gutman — The rhyming titles were the first thing to draw my son in to this silly series, but the fun stories of a strange school are what kept him reading. How can you not laugh at a school named Ella Mentary School? Once your child completes this series, they can move on to the My Weirder School books for even more fun.
Hopefully these chapter book series will get your child started on a reading adventure that lasts a lifetime!