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Reluctant Readers Upper KS2

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Best Books for Reluctant Readers in Years 5 and 6

For parents and teachers, there is such an enormous amount of pressure (and often a strong desire) to guide every child successfully through the process of learning to read – while making sure it’s fun, enjoyable and a learning journey that will lead to a life-long love of books. But which books are best for hooking in children who don’t feel interested in reading?

We’ve picked a selection of our top book choices for engaging reluctant readers in Year 5 and Year 6.

Books with a high image-to-text ratio


Laugh-out-loud funny books


Books set in relatable worlds


Popular graphic novels


Books with dyslexia-friendly formatting


Our favourite books for reluctant readers


Guidance: Books for Reluctant Readers in Upper Ks2

Every reader is unique, and it follows that different children are likely to have their own reasons for finding books disengaging. Identifying the key reasons behind the reluctance towards books can help to pinpoint book suggestions that might capture individual children’s interest. For readers who find large blocks of text overwhelming, try offering something with a high image-to-text ratio, like the 13-Storey Treehouse series or the extremely popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Graphic novels are also often a huge hit with readers in upper KS2, from the wildly popular Dog Man books to the reimagined The Baby Sitters Club graphic novels. Where dyslexia is present, we highly recommend Barrington Stoke’s dyslexia-friendly reads that cater to all sorts of different tastes, like David Long’s Titanic-based non-fiction Tragedy at Sea to Lisa Thompson’s emotive short story Owen and the Soldier.

For children who love to laugh, we suggest Sam Copeland’s highly entertaining Charlie Changes into a Chicken books, the action-packed Iguana Boy series or – one of our all-time favourites – the completely whacky Mr Gum series.​ As for readers who need to find common ground with the worlds they read about, try Cath Howe’s pre-teen drama Ella on the Outside, the brilliantly funny Sam Wu series or – for footie fans – the highly recommendable Soccer Superstars books.​

For pupils who get ‘stuck’ on a very favourite author or series, browse around our Branching Out lists, which give suggestions of alternative books similar to popular favourites like David Walliams or Tom Gates.​

If you are looking for further Year 5 and Year 6 book recommendations, be sure to check out our Reading for Pleasure booklists.

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