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June 18, 2015

How to choose books for apprehensive readers

Do you remember when you were in elementary school, counting down the last minutes before the bell rang and you were free for summer? Do you remember the thrill of knowing you had three months of freedom ahead of you?

Let’s face it, summer is awesome and kids love summer. It’s a time to have fun and adventure with friends and family. Amidst the summer fun, reading can sometimes be a hard sell to kids who aren’t particularly drawn to recreational reading. But, that might just be because they haven’t found the right book.

Even if getting kids to read seems like an uphill battle, stay positive and stay at it. Summer reading is worth the payout, especially for students from low-income families who are particularly affected by the summer slide. A study by Richard Allington, professor of reading education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that kids who read 12 books during the summer months was as effective as summer school in raising students’ reading scores.

If you are searching for the right book to excite an apprehensive summer reader, use some of these book ideas to get you started.

Quick tip: Kids like to pick out their own books–visit the library or a local bookstore as a fun summer outing.

Books that make you laugh

Captain Underpants, Diary of a Wimpy Kid—goofy books are just plain fun to read and are a great place to start to get kids excited about reading. Goodreads offers a list of books that can make your child laugh … and you, too.

Books that appeal to interests

Do your kids like animals, science, art, sports? Find informational texts based on kids’ interests and they’ll love to read them. The Magic School Bus series is great for young scientists, and National Geographic has a line of books for kids that might peak their interests.

Nonfiction books

Have you ever tried bringing home a book about real people, places, or events? Many kids love reading nonfiction because it helps them relate to the world around them. Nonfiction books may be just what a young one is craving.

Fiction books

Kids tend to read more fiction than nonfiction. Maybe because it appeals to their wild imaginations. The trick here is choosing a fictional genre based on the interests of the child. For thrill seekers, mystery or science fiction might peak their interests. For empathetic kids, they might like short stories, historical fiction, or folklore. The School Library Journal offers a great list of some of the all-time best fiction books for kids.

Break out the classics

What were your favorites as a kid? Classics are classics for a reason–they’re great books. The New York Public Library has a great list of the top 100 books for kids. You may recognize many of them from your own childhood. These classics withstand the test of time and provide a wonderful opportunity for generations to bond over books.

Books that are interactive


Interactive books are great for kids who may have a limited attention span when it comes to reading. Pop up books, for example, offer the more action oriented experience, that some kids need.

Books that teach you something

Kid’s build confidence as they learn new things about the world around them. Try bringing home a book that will teach a new skill of interest give insight into a topic of interest. Whether it’s magic, sports, animals, painting, etc., kids will be excited to share what they learned from their new book.

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