Book List for reluctant readers aged 9+ (9-12)

Children develop reading skills at different speeds. There are two key things to remember:

-It’s never too late to help your child become more fluent.

-You shouldn’t feel your child is behind compared to other children. Not all children get the reading bug at the same time, but if you persevere most will get it.

Why reading is so important – Why reluctant readers will fall behind unless they have help

Reading is important on many levels but at this age the three most important benefits are:

-Children who read develop a far wider vocabulary than those who don’t. When children come to take important tests to move to the next stage of their education (e.g. an 11 Plus Exam) those with a wider vocabulary will do much better.

-Children develop much better comprehension skills through reading. They read more quickly and more accurately and their wider vocabulary enables greater understanding. Clearly this helps with any comprehension test (such as those found in every 11 Plus exam in the country), but equally readers will not have the comprehension difficulties as others in subjects which also require these skills (as an example many Maths questions use quite complicated worded questions that reluctant readers will find more difficult than those who have read fluently for a prolonged period.)

-Finally readers will have much better core English skills than those who do not read, their spelling for example will be much better.

In our view reading is the most important skill a child can pick up, the better they are at, the more frequently they read, the better they will do overall in school. There’s an old saying- “Those who read, succeed.” – It’s true.

Below you will find a list of books we have selected for reluctant readers aged 9+ (9-12)

These books have been selected to respond to the key issues reluctant readers have. We have to find a way of helping the reading bug to become embedded in reluctant readers.  Some find humour more interesting, some prefer fantasy to reality, some are more switched on by non-fiction and then others need more gender focussed material (more overt girls’ stories or more overt boys’ stories.) Hopefully we have included a good mix of these sorts of books within the list and we hope you find something to help you there.

Remember that with reluctant readers you need to overtly give them some choice, let them choose the books that they think may inspire them. Equally don’t let money get in the way of trying options until you succeed, the local library will be of great help if you don’t have the funds to buy lots of books yourself.

Reluctant readers list aged 9+ (9-12) 

Alex Rider  Storm Breaker- Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider aged fourteen becomes a secret agent, and a very good one at that. This is part of series that Horowitz wrote and it’s proven to be very popular. Get them hooked on this one and pretty soon they will have consumed the whole series.

Young Bond- Charlie Higson

In a similar vein to the Alex Rider books, although this time featuring the younger version of the world’s most famous spy.

When Did You See Her Last- Lemony Snicket

In the town of stain’d –by- the -sea Lemony Snicket has a new case. To find a missing girl.

Out of My Mind- Sharon Draper

Melody Brooks has the mind of an intelligent 11 year old stuck in a body made stiff by cerebral palsy.   A genuinely moving story.

The Number 7 Shirt- Alan Gibbons

For all those boys who would always rather be playing football. This is the story of a boy who dreams of becoming a football professional.

Arthur High King of Britain- Michael Morpugo

An historical novel by the maestro Morpugo. The Arthurian legend is heady mix of history and fantasy and has always been popular with children.

Young Merlin- Tony Bradman

More fantasy than fact. This is an exciting tale about Merlin, the most famous wizard in history.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase- Joan Aitken

Bonnie and Sylvia are left with Miss Slighcarp when their parents go on a sea voyage. Miss Slighcarp turns out to be a cruel trickster who wants the wealth of Willoughby Chase at all costs. The story of how Bonnie and Sylvia attempt to outfox Miss Slighcarp has gripped many reluctant readers.

The One and Only Ivan- Katherine Applegate

Inspired by the true story of Ivan the captured gorilla. Ivan spent many years behind glass walls in a shopping centre and forgot all about his native habitat. A young elephant’s arrival forces him to think differently and see things differently. Reluctant readers have been captivated by this story.

The Iron Man- Ted Hughes

Not to be confused with the Marvel comic. Ted Hughes’  Iron Man is a metal giant who appears from nowhere and strikes fear initially into the local community. It’s a wonderful fairy story.

Don’t go in the Cellar- Jeremy Strong

A funny book for readers at the younger end of this age range. Of course what do children want to do if you tell them not to do something ?


Other help for reluctant readers

We always find that readers of all shapes, reluctant or otherwise make extra progress if parents do some paired reading with them as well as asking them to read by themselves. Please do try it, our paired reading guide will show you how. It can have a great effect on reluctant readers, but remember as with all things to do with literacy skills development you will not see progress overnight…. but you will see progress in six months if you stick with it.

Unfortunately we do sometimes find that the balance of screen time vs reading or homework is the cause of some problems. Each family deals with this issue in their own way, but it is worth remembering that if homework or reading is seen as hurdle that is placed in front of television or other screens then this will always be an uphill battle. Most families do manage to find their own solution but it as well to recognise it and the sooner it is dealt with the easier things will be.