What can we do about our kids who don’t love reading?

Today I’m sharing a few ideas, as well as a few books that just might turn your reluctant reader into a reader who stays up past bedtime, sneaking books under the covers with a flashlight.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • what’s more important than helping our kids fall in love with reading (it’s not what you think)
  • what we can do when a child says he’s not a reader
  • some books that are bound to grab and hold even the most reluctant readers’ attention

Click the play button below:

More free resources and booklists

Get the best episodes and reources
from the Read-Aloud Revival

Powered by ConvertKit

Listener Guide

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast:

  • 2:08 First, what qualifies as a story?
  • 4:50 Helping your child find the books that will light them up
  • 7:18 Book recommendations for your kids who don’t love reading (yet)
  • 8:40 The Edge of Extinction books by Laura Martin
  • 10:40 Books by Andrew Clements
  • 13:10 The Chronicles of Narnia
  • 14:38 The Fablehaven Series by Brandon Mull
  • 16:25 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Sarah recommends this for teens)
  • 20:17 Let the Kids Speak

Quotes to remember:

  • We want to help our kids fall in love with stories, not to fall in love with the act of reading. Enjoyment of reading doesn’t ever come first. It’s a love of stories that propels us to read. Focus first and foremost on nurturing a love of stories, rather than worrying too much about getting your child to love the actual act of reading.
  • Reading from a page is not better or preferred to hearing books read out loud. It’s true. Audio books and read-alouds count as “real reading” every bit as much as reading words from a page. If you need more encouragement on this, listen to episode 66.
  • Use the strategy of reading aloud the first chapter or two before handing a book over to your reluctant reader. It helps your child feel like you’re on the same side, rather than feeling at odds with you. It helps them get into the story without much effort. And then the impetus to keep reading comes from within themselves and not from you, which is what we’re going for.

Books from this episode:

(All links are Amazon affiliate links.)

Episode 84
Redwall (Redwall, Book 1)

Redwall (Redwall, Book 1)

FROM SARAH:

Redwall Abbey is a quiet and peaceful place, just as the mice like it. But an evil one-eyed rat wants ownership of the abbey. An unlikely hero emerges in this action packed tale, which might be a good pick for fans of The Green Ember.

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

The question in this first volume is resoundingly clear: What can the peace-loving mice of Redwall Abbey do to defend themselves against Cluny the Scourge and his battle-seasoned army of rats?

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2)

If you're looking for a story to inspire heroic virtue, and sweep everyone away in an unforgettable tale, The Chronicles of Narnia cannot be outdone. I recommend beginning the series with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (you can circle back to The Magician's Nephew at the very end.)

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Fablehaven

Fablehaven

FROM SARAH:

Kendra and Seth visit their grandparents, having no idea that their grandfather is the caretaker of Fablehaven, a hidden refuge for mystical creatures to prevent their extinction. Will keep you turning pages! Watch the author talk about writing this book in his Author Access replay in RAR Premium.

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite...

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
Nate the Great

Nate the Great

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

Simple mystery stories that will pull your little ones right in. Kids will agree that Nate really is, well … great!

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective

Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

Leroy Brown, boy detective, not only solves his own cases -- he also occasionally helps out his policeman dad with the biggest mysteries in Idaville.

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: a Calvin and Hobbes Treasury

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: a Calvin and Hobbes Treasury

$18.99

Calvin has a best friend -- a stuffed? tiger named Hobbes, and a BIG imagination. Follow the pair’s adventures in these beloved comics.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Frindle

Frindle

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

A fantastic place to start with the many funny, quick reads by Andrew Clements. Nick isn't exactly a troublemaker; he just likes to keep things interesting! What starts out as a simple game turns into a city-wide uproar. What starts out as a lighthearted read turns out to be a powerfully moving story. Delightful.

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
Edge of Extinction #1: The Ark Plan

Edge of Extinction #1: The Ark Plan

FROM SARAH:

This is easily one of my "most recommended" books of the year. I found this book impossible to put down-- and so did my kids! If you have a child who hasn't fallen head-over-heels for reading yet, start here. I loved the second book (Code Name Flood) every bit as much as the first!

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

One hundred and fifty years ago, the first dinosaurs were cloned. Soon after, they replaced humans at the top of the food chain. The only way to survive was to move into underground compounds...

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
The Mother-Daughter Book Club

The Mother-Daughter Book Club

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

But what begins as a mom-imposed ritual of reading Little Women soon helps four unlikely friends navigate the drama of middle school. From stolen journals, to secret crushes, to a fashion-fiasco first dance, the girls are up to their Wellie boots in drama. They can't help but wonder: What would Jo March do?

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club)

Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club)

$7.99

The third book in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick follows the girls for a new year of humor and friendship.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, No. 1) (The Boxcar Children Mysteries)

The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, No. 1) (The Boxcar Children Mysteries)

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

The Aldens begin their adventure by making a home in a boxcar. Their goal is to stay together, and in the process they find a grandfather.

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
Edge of Extinction #2: Code Name Flood

Edge of Extinction #2: Code Name Flood

**Description from Amazon: Perfect for fans of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World! Code Name Flood is the electrifying sequel to The Ark Plan, which School Library Journal praised by saying: “Nonstop action, marauding dinosaurs, and kids on the run: What’s not to like?” Last week, twelve-year-old Sky found a cryptic messa...

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
About Average

About Average

$7.99

**Description from Amazon: Can average be amazing? The bestselling author of Frindle shows that with a little kindness, it can.Jordan Johnston is average. Not short, not tall. Not plump, not slim. Not gifted, not flunking out. Even her shoe size is average. She’s ordinary for her school, for her town, for even the whole wid...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Map Trap

The Map Trap

$7.99

**Description from Amazon: This map-tastic middle grade story from Andrew Clements gives the phrase “uncharted territory” a whole new meaning!Alton Barnes loves maps. He’s loved them ever since he was little, and not just for the geography. Because maps contain more information than just locations, and that’s why he l...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
We the Children (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School)

We the Children (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School)

$7.99
Author:
Series: Episodes, Episode 84, Book 1
Tag: Episode 84

**Description from Amazon: Benjamin Pratt’s school is about to become the site of a new amusement park. It sounds like a dream come true! But lately, Ben has been wondering if he’s going to like an amusement park in the middle of his town—with all the buses and traffic and eight dollar slices of pizza. It’s going to c...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Pies & Prejudice (The Mother-Daughter Book Club)

Pies & Prejudice (The Mother-Daughter Book Club)

$8.99

Right before the start of their freshman year, Emma's family unexpectedly moves to England. The book club is stunned, but thanks to videoconferencing, they can keep the club alive. They decide to tackle Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, a particularly fitting choice. In England, Emma deals with a n...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Much Ado About Anne (The Mother-Daughter Book Club)

Much Ado About Anne (The Mother-Daughter Book Club)

$15.99

The mother-daughter book club is back! This year the mothers have a big surprise in store for Emma, Jess, Cassidy, and Megan: They've invited snooty Becca Chadwick and her mother to join the book club! But there are bigger problems when Jess finds out that her family may have to give up Half Moon...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Wish You Were Eyre (The Mother-Daughter Book Club)

Wish You Were Eyre (The Mother-Daughter Book Club)

$7.99

The Mother-Daughter Book Club says bon voyage to Concord and bonjour to France!It’s a dream come true for Megan, who’s jet-setting to Paris for Fashion Week with Gigi. Meanwhile, back in Concord, Mrs. Wong decides to run for mayor, so Emma and Stewart team up to make her campaign a success. Jess...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The School Story

The School Story

$7.99

Two middle school girls scheme to publish a book in this novel from Andrew Clements, the author of Frindle.Natalie's best friend, Zoe, is sure that the novel Natalie's written is good enough to be published. But how can a twelve-year-old girl publish a book? Natalie's mother is an editor for a big c...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Catching Fire |Hunger Games|2

Catching Fire |Hunger Games|2

$12.99

Suzanne Collins continues the amazing story of Katniss Everdeen in the phenomenal Hunger Games trilogy.Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games)

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games)

$12.99

The third book in Suzanne Collins's phenomenal and worldwide bestselling Hunger Games trilogy is now available in paperback."My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead."Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. There are rebels. Ther...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
No Talking

No Talking

$7.99

It’s boys vs. girls when the noisiest, most talkative, and most competitive fifth graders in history challenge one another to see who can go longer without talking. Teachers and school administrators are in an uproar, until an innovative teacher sees how the kids’ experiment can provide a terrif...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Report Card

The Report Card

$7.99

A fifth-grade genius turns the spotlight on grades—good and bad—in this novel from Andrew Clements, the author of Frindle.Nora Rose Rowley is a genius, but don't tell anyone. She's managed to make it to the fifth grade without anyone figuring out that she's not just an ordinary kid, and she want...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Lunch Money (Rise and Shine)

Lunch Money (Rise and Shine)

$7.99

MEET GREG KENTON, BILLIONAIRE IN THE MAKING. Greg Kenton has two obsessions -- making money and his long-standing competition with his annoying neighbor, Maura Shaw. So when Greg discovers that Maura is cutting into his booming Chunky Comics business with her own original illustrated minibooks, he...

More info →
Buy from Amazon

Get the printable version

Books boys love

Powered by ConvertKit

Links from this episode:


You’ll also enjoy: