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Topic: Reluctant Readers Upper KS2

Best Books for Reluctant Readers in Upper KS2

For parents and teachers, there is often pressure and 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 lifelong love of books. But which books are best for hooking in children who don’t feel interested in reading?

We’ve put together a curated collection of books designed to engage children who can appear reluctant to read for pleasure. At BooksForTopics, we understand the unique challenge of inspiring a love for reading in older primary school students who may be hesitant or less enthusiastic about picking up a book. Our list aims to break down common barriers and offer a diverse range of titles that cater to varied interests and reading abilities.

Try offering titles with a high image-to-text ratio like the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series or Freddy vs School, offering an immersive reading experience that appeals to visual learners. We also recommend that you explore books with high-interest themes like Rashford Rules or Gamer, addressing hobbies and interests that are likely to captivate readers seeking meaningful reads. For those drawn to real-life stories and relatable worlds that create an easy connection between the reader and the narrative, try Ella on the Outside. For those who find reading boring, why not introduce a good dose of humour through Grimwood or Iguana Boy Saves the World With a Triple Cheese Pizza?

With something for all different tastes, this selection of our top book choices for engaging reluctant readers in Year 5 and Year 6 is here to help. Schools can purchase full sets of the books from Peters.

Graphic Novel

Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey are best friends and founding members of THE BABYSITTERS CLUB. Whatever comes up – cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbors, prank calls – you can count on them to save the day.

Babysitting isn’t always easy though, and neither is dealing with strict parents, new families, fashion emergencies, and mysterious secrets. But no matter what, the BSC have what they need most: friendship.

Raina Telgemeier, using the signature style featured in her acclaimed graphic novels Smile and Sisters, perfectly captures all the drama and humor of the original novel!

Graphic Novel

Raina just wanted to be a normal girl, but one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion and friends who turn out to not be so friendly.

Chapter book

On 10 April 1912, RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York. This “Ship of Dreams” was the largest and most luxurious ocean liner in the world. It was claimed she was unsinkable. But four days later, when the ship struck an iceberg, the loss of Titanic and over 1,500 passengers would become one of the most infamous maritime disasters in history.

In this fact-filled retelling of its construction and doomed maiden voyage, David Long brings Titanic’s tragic tale to life.

Chapter book

2-1 with minutes to go: Dale Juniors are about to win the schools’ cup final – until Scott foots the ball into his own team’s goal. But letting down the team is the least of Scott’s problems. After the match, someone leaves him a nasty message on the wall – and the suspect? His best mate Danny. It’s all going downhill from here. The drama of football and friendship take to the pitch in this action-packed sporting novel from top-selling author Paul Stewart. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+.

Chapter book

Nick is truly, madly in love with Jessie Stone. And she doesn’t even know his name. In a ploy to win her heart, he plans to star alongside her in the school production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. But when he’s cast as the foolish Bottom instead of the romantic lead, his whole world comes crashing down. Enter Robyn, school mischief-maker, who has some crafty tricks up her sleeve. With her help Nick is sure he can get Jessie to notice him just as long as his grand plans don’t go up in smoke … A laugh-out-loud comical caper of friendship, true love and a completely disastrous school Shakespeare production from bestselling author Ross Montgomery. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+.

Chapter book

Mo Appleby’s ordered life is turned upside down when he and his mum move in with his new stepdad and stepsisters, Lottie and Sadie. The home he left behind is just across the street, and there’s something not quite right about the new occupant. Other strange new people keep popping into his life, too: a bonkers lollipop man and a boy called Jax, who seems to understand Mo better than anyone else, especially Lottie. Who are the weird new people in their town? Do they have any involvement in the disappearance of Mo’s dad many years ago? And why does the ice cream taste so good? Lottie is determined to find out exactly what’s going on, even if it makes Mo mad, and even if it leads them both into serious danger…

Chapter book

The first in a brilliantly funny series about a robot babysitter and the mayhem he causes. When Grandma creates a robot babysitter for twins Jake and Jess, chaos ensues!
Robin is embarrassing, clumsy and, worst of all, programmed to make them do their homework. They’re also pretty sure he thinks their dog is a baby. The twins decide they have to do something before everyone realizes that Robin is a robot. But getting rid of their new babysitter will mean putting aside their sibling squabbles and working together, which might be an even bigger challenge…

Non-fiction

If you’ve ever wanted to know what a panda does all day long, how your heart manages to shift all that blood around your body or what makes a rainbow shine, you’ve come to the right book.

A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You features the answers to all of these questions and many more, all told in a super-fun comic book format in three awesome sections: Human Body, Animal Kingdom and Earth and Science. A Day in the Life… is packed with facts, laughs and amazing illustrations you can dive into all day long.

Meet your grumpy liver that has to do practically EVERYTHING; your trusty hands that are very, well, handy; the spiky porcupines ready to charge; lonely Mars rovers abandoned on the Red Planet; raging tornadoes ready to rip through the pages of the book and bubbly volcanoes ready to blow.

All entries are told in the fun, friendly and informative style of Mike Barfield, and are brought to life by the colour-explosion of Jess Bradley’s awesome illustrations.

Chapter book

Videogame-obsessed Flo gets more than she bargained for when she finds herself INSIDE her favourite game. Turns out, virtual reality isn’t as much fun when it’s not so virtual.
When Flo’s engineer mum creates a device that will make her image appear in her videogames, Flo can’t wait to use it! Ignoring her mum’s warnings that it’s not ready, Flo accidentally transports herself into the game, along with her not-so-keen-on-videogames-and-wishing-he’d-stayed-home best friend Max. Immersed in the world of Star Smasher, they not only have to face armies of soldiers, but also the very real possibility that there may not be a way out…

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