Engaging books for reluctant readers aged 8/9 12

Even though we have read to or with the boys most nights since they were born, Maxi has been a reluctant reader for as long as we can remember.  However, Mini was a very early reader and has devoured books since he could read his first word.

Engaging books for reluctant readers aged 9

It has been really hard to find books that engaged Maxi, he was always a competent reader, but just didn’t want to read for fun.  I have to admit that it baffled me.  What was I doing differently with Mini and how could I apply it with Maxi?

Well for one thing we didn’t stop reading, the one thing that we insisting on was that reading was part of family life whether that be him reading to us, one of us to the rest of the family or even Mini reading aloud to us all.  We kept visiting the library and we kept buying books.

Engaging books for reluctant readers aged 89

Then it happened.  Over the summer holidays Maxi picked up a Tom Gates book by Liz Pichon and something just clicked.  I walked into the sitting room to find him sat on the sofa giggling out loud whilst reading.  Since then he has read every single Tom Gates book and moved on to other books.  So what is it about these books?  Well for starters they are not all words, they are filled with doodles, amazing illustrations and loads of funny, laugh out loud kids speak.

I think that the fact that they were not all a sea of words is what helped Maxi connect with those words.  He started to not be inhibited by those words and concerned about how many more there were before the end and he started to concentrate on the ones on the page in front of him as he was reading.

Since picking up that first Tom Gates book a whole new world has opened up before him.

Engaging books for reluctant readers aged 8/9


Phonic Comic Bopoks

Maxi has tucked in to these fabulous graphic novels including Long Gone Don about what happens to Don after he drowns face down in a bowl of oxtail soup.

Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

These books are great as they are not too wordy and have lots of images, but more than that they are laugh out loud.

Guinness World Records 2015

Facts, by boys both love facts and The Guinness Book of Records is filled with them and it has been so much fun watching them pull it out and discuss what they have discovered with their mates.

Top 10 of Everything 2015

Similar to the Guinness Book of Records this is a super fact book, but with lots of top tens.  It has really hit the reading spot and many a night we have walked in to find Maxi asleep with this book.

Minecraft Handbooks

Both my boys are gamers and gaming handbooks are a great way to get them reading. We have a no screentime after 6pm rule, so they can often be found with a handbook working out what to build next.  The Minecraft Handbooks are great.

Audio Books

Both the boys now have a real love of Audio Books, especially at bedtime.  We have the David Walliams CD Story Collection and all the books to go with it and they both read along. Audio books are not just for younger children.  They love being read too and the learn all the correct intonation.  They are also great for long journeys in the car.  Other we have include Roald Dahl: 10 Phizz-whizzing Audiobooks and Horrible Histories.  We are on the lookout for a reasonably priced set of Harry Potter at the moment!

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Find more great gift guides all completed by Mum’s for parents.

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12 thoughts on “Engaging books for reluctant readers aged 8/9

  • Kate Thompson

    Some good ideas although I have to admit I detest the new trend for dumbing down kids’ books, whether it’s the cartoon ones or the computer generated mass produced series. The Dark is Rising Sequence is a wonderful set of books for boys and girls this age – and would make a fabulous TV adaptation too.

  • Globalmouse

    Briilliant, thank you – exactly what I have been looking for, I have clicked on your link and ordered a copy of the Tom Gates series to try on my nearly 8 year old. Thank you!

  • Kanchan@ The Intrepid Misadventurer

    That Roald Dahl audiobook option is very inviting, for me too 🙂 Both my girls are alright about reading though we very rarely revisit books. There are some good suggestions here, Jen, and I keep promising myself I’ll look into minecraft soon 🙂 x

  • Mari

    Fabulous list. I always enjoy your reading lists Jen and have bought form them on many occasion. The twins are 6 and 1 is a less avid reader than her sister, easily bored and wants to play or do something else.
    Very helpful indeed, now I need to dig deep to find your list for 6-7 year olds 🙂

  • Laura

    These are some nice suggestions. I’m lucky in that my two children absolutely adore reading. Mind you, I’m aware that they are only 5 and 3-years-old and that their relationship with books could change at some point.

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