What exactly is a reluctant reader?

By Elizabeth Kennedy


There are several different types. They include: children who are intelligent and interested in reading, but don't read well; children who seem to have no interest and, as a result of not reading regularly, are falling, or at risk of falling, behind; and children who are dealing with specific learning problems that impede their ability, and willingness, to read. Then, there is the most frustrating type of all: the child who reads well but has little interest in doing so. If your child is a reluctant reader, whether a second grader or a sixth grader, what can you do to encourage him, or her, to read? Fortunately, there are a number of resources that are available to assist you. Since the only way most children can get to be good readers is to read regularly, it is important to encourage your child to read from the beginning.

The importance of reading aloud cannot be overemphasized. By reading aloud to your children, you are emphasizing the joy of reading, introducing them to new vocabulary words and ideas, expanding their knowledge, and learning more about their interests. Often, hearing a story can pique a child's interest in learning more by reading independently. At some point, you might pick books at, not above, your child's reading level, and take turns reading portions aloud to one another.

The most important role a parent or other caring adult can play is as a good role model. It's hard for a children to believe in the importance of reading if there are few books in the home, they never see their parents reading, and they never go to the library. Reading for enjoyment is not enjoyable for children if they are forced to read. It's important to help your children find books at the appropriate reading level on subjects that interest them. Once you find books, you can pique your children's interest by reading the first chapter to them. You might also want to take turns reading. If the book is sufficiently interesting, you may find your children reading ahead on their own. In order to select books appropriate for your child, it helps to know what to look for in choosing books for your reluctant reader. These include the book's vocabulary, sentence length and complexity, appearance, including the size of the print, and its interest level.



"Your future is an open book."



Cultivating Reading Awareness


"Kid Speak"


"Where am I?" (Lost meaning, so reread)

"Hmmm..." (Reacted to text, then made a conscious effort to keep reading)

"I didn't know that!" (Added new information to background knowledge)

"You've got to be kidding!" (Stopped to think and then reread)

"Say what?" (Stopped to think and then posed a question)

"Been there before." (Text-to-self connection)

"Huh?" (Reread to clarify)

"Yes!" (Hardy agreement with author)

"Who is talking here?" (Self-questioned, reread, summarized)

"Just like that other book." (Text-to-text connection)

"This is huge." (Determined importance)

"Love these words!" (Enjoyed)

"I bet that..." (Drew an inference)

"Where are they?" (Tried to visualize)

"Now I think..."(Synthesized new thoughts)

"No clue." (Monitored a breakdown; consulted a friend about concept)

-Paula Bowers Fifth-Grade Class



Light and Lively Books


Reluctant Readers


The best books for reluctant readers are carefully constructed  to provide continual support for the reader. This includes:

 Most High Interest - Low Vocabulary books have an Interest Level of that is appropriate for up to three grade levels above their Reading Level.

The children can use the 5 Fingers Test to determine whether or not a book is too difficult.
Using one page, have them count  the number of words they are unable to decode. If the number reaches 5,  they need to look for a less demanding book.




Flavor of the Month

Colorado Children's Book Award Winner

Inventor McGregor by Kathleen Pelley



Masterful Reading Teachers cherry-picked the following book titles:


RL = Reading Level (By Grade Level)

IL = Interest Level (By Grade Level)

Reading and Interest Level notations taken from The Elementary School Library Collection (21st Ed.) and the Logan (Utah) Library web site at

Avi. The Barn.
RL = 3 / IL = 5-12
To fulfill their dying father's last request, Ben and his siblings build a barn in the Oregon Territory.

Blume, Judy. Superfudge.
RL = 2 / IL = 2-4
The highs and lows of Peter's life with his brother Fudge. Sequel to Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

Blume, Judy. Tales Of a Fourth Grade Nothing.
RL = 3 / IL = 3-5
Peter finds his demanding two-year-old brother an every increasing problem.

Bunting, Eve. Cheyenne Again.
RL = 2 / IL = 3-5
In the late 1880's, a Cheyenne boy named Young Bull runs away from a white man's boarding school.

Byars, Betsy. The Pinballs.
RL = 3 / IL = 5-6
Three lonely foster children are tired of being bounced from home to home like pinballs.

Catling, Patrick S. The Chocolate Touch.
RL = 2-3 / IL = 2-5
A boy acquires a magical gift that turns everything his lips touch to chocolate.



Cleary, Beverly. Socks.
RL = 2 / IL = 3-5
Hilarious episodes in the life of the Brickers' pampered cat.

Conford, Ellen. The Frog Princess Of Pelham.
RL = 3 / IL = 4-12
Danny's kiss turns Chandler into a frog, and his attempts to change her back land them on a TV talk show.

Corbett, Scott. The Great McGoniggle Rides Shotgun.
RL = 2 / IL = 3-5
Mac and Ken accept a ride from a nervous stranger and find themselves involved in a robbery.

Cutler, Jane. Spaceman.
RL = 2 / IL = 4-12
Gary, who is failing and has trouble getting along with other students, tries to adjust to his learning disability.

Fleischman, Sid. The Whipping Boy.
RL = 3 / IL = 3-5
A bratty prince and his whipping boy accidently trade places after becoming involved with dangerous outlaws.

Hatrick, Gloria. Masks.
RL = 3 / IL = 6-12
When his brother is paralyzed by a rare disease, Pete uses tribal animal masks to communicate with Will.

King-Smith, Dick. A Mouse Called Wolf.
RL = 3 / IL = 3-5
A mouse with an unusual name shares his musical gift with a widowed concert pianist.

King-Smith, Dick. Mr. Potter's Pet.
RL = 2 / IL = 3-5
Mr. Potter's boring life changes considerably after buying an unusual mynah bird.


"Your library is your portrait."

- Holbrook Jackson

Monpurgo, Michael. Wreck Of the Zanzibar.
RL = 3 / IL = 4-6
In 1907, Laura, living with her family on the Isles of Scilly, participates in a shipwreck rescue.

Napoli, Donna J. The Prince of the Pond.
RL = 3 / IL = 3-12
Turned into a frog, a prince makes the best of his life and instills a new kind of thinking into his frog family.

Orgel, Doris. Don't Call Me Slob-O.
RL = 2 / IL = 3-5
Shrimp must decide whether to befriend a new boy in his neighborhood, who is a Croatian American.

Partridge, Elizabeth. Clara and the Hoodoo Man.
RL = 3 / IL = 5-12
When her sister is near death, Clara risks seeking the help of the herbal healer her mother calls a hoodoo man.

Pinkwater, Daniel Manus. The Muffin Fiend.
RL = 2-3 / IL = 3-5
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart helps Inspector LeChat catch the thief who is stealing all the muffins of Europe.

Polacco, Patricia. Pink and Say.
RL = 2 / IL = 4-6
Say describes his meeting with Pinkus, a black soldier, during the Civil War, and their capture by Rebels.


“Everything we know as writers we knew as readers first.”

-Katie Ray

Richemont, Enid. The Magic Skateboard.
RL = 3 / IL = 3-5
Danny's skateboard is transformed into a kind of flying carpet that allows him to visit any place he imagines.

Ryan, Mary E. The Trouble With Perfect.
RL = 3 / IL = 6-12
Kyle, who is hopeless in math, is tempted to cheat to please his demanding, heavily drinking father.

Schecter, Ellen. The Big Idea
RL = 2 / IL = 3-5
Luz is determined to turn a run-down vacant lot into a garden, but she must convince her neighbors to help.

Spinelli, Jerry. Crash.
RL = 3 / IL = 5-12
" Crash" reconsiders his tough, aggressive behavior after befriending a Quaker boy.

Warner, Sally. Dog Years.
RL = 3 / IL = 4-6
After his father is imprisoned, Case switches to a new school.Top of Form.


More Rip-Roaring Reads for Reluctant Readers  By Bette Ammon and Gale Sherman, Libraries Unlimited 1999

Grade 2 reading level with higher interest level.


J Paperback BRO
Brown, Liz. Misty Knows.
Reading level: 2.7, Interest level: grades 3-7
Someone is putting poison in the feed at Shady Acres farm. Jen and Keisha have an idea
who's behind it, but first they need some proof.


YA Paperback DEN
Denman, K.L. Battle of the Bands.
Reading level: 2.9, Interest level: grades 7+
When a competitor’s guitar is trashed right before a battle of the bands contest, The Lunar
Ticks are the prime suspects.

YA Paperback GAE
Gaetz, Dayle Campbell. Spoiled Rotten.
Reading level: 2.8, Interest level: grades 5-9
Jessica must trek through bear country to save her stepsister.

YA Paperback GOO
Goobie, Beth. Sticks and Stones.
Reading level: 2.6, Interest level: grades 7+
No one expects Jujube to fight back when her reputation takes a beating.

YA Paperback GRA
Grant, Vicki. Pigboy.
Reading level: 2.0, Interest level: grades 5-9
A school field trip to a remote heritage farm turns dangerous when Dan discovers the bus
driver and teacher have been bound and gagged.

J Paperback JEN
Jennings, Sharon. Bats Past Midnight.
Reading level: 2.5, Interest level: grades 3-6
Sam and Simon (the “Bat gang”) wonder about a fancy car that hangs around their school
late at night. When they try to find out more, they end up in trouble at school, at home and
with the police.

YA Paperback SPA
Spafford-Fitz, Karen. Dog Walker.
Reading level: 2.6, Interest level: grades 5-9
Turk's money making scheme gets out of control.

Grade 3 reading level with higher interest levels.

YA Paperback BEL
Bell, William. Death Wind.
Reading level: 3.2, Interest level: 7+
Allie is caught up in a tornado that threatens to destroy everything.

YA Paperback BRO
Brown, Liz. The Bully.
Reading level: 3.2, Interest level: grades 4-9
A teenage girl struggles against lies and rumours spreads by a female bully at her school.


"I like books. I was born and bred among them, and have the easy feeling, when I get in their presence, that a stable-boy has among horses."

- Oliver Wendell Holmes

J Paperback CAL
Calder, K.E. The Secret of the Bailey Bay Inn.
Reading level: 3, Interest level: grades 4-6
Weird things are happening at the old boarded up Bailey Bay Inn. Will learns the truth about
the building, but now he and his friends are in danger.

YA Paperback JAM
Jamison, Lauri. Running for Dave.
Reading level: 3.2, Interest level: grades 6-10
When a track star gets cancer, his best friend finds new meaning for his own life.

YA Paperback KRO
Kropp, Paul. Avalanche.
Reading level: 3.4, Interest level: grades 5-10
A group of teens is trapped by an avalanche in British Columbia – not all of them survive.

YA Paperback KYI
Kyi, Tanya. Truth.
Reading level: 3.2, Interest level: grades 7+
When a neighbour is brutally murdered during a high-school house party, no one will go to the police.
As a reporter for the school TV show, Jen decides to try and uncover the truth.

YA Paperback PAT
Paton, Doug. Terror 9/11.
Reading level: 3.5, Interest level: grades 5-10
A teenage boy and his sister survive the collapse of the World Trade Center.

J Paperback ZUC
Zucker, Jonny. The Bombed House.
Reading level: 3.2, Interest level: grades 5-9
During World War II Ned and Harry Jennings find something very strange at 46 Willow Street.
The only problem is that no one believes what they have discovered.

Grade 4 reading level with higher interest level.

YA Paperback BRO
Brown, Liz. Dark Ryder.
Reading level: 4.0, Interest level: grades 4-9.
A teenage girl must train and ride a wild horse in order to keep him.

YA Paperback BUT
Butcher, Kristin. Chat Room.
Reading level: 4.0, Interest level: grades 5-9
When Linda, a normally shy girl, participates in her high school’s chat room, she becomes
quite popular online. She is certain that life is for the better, until a secret admirer enters the

YA Paperback BUT
Butcher, Kristin. The Hemingway Tradition.
Reading level: 4.0, Interest level: grades 7+
Shaw is trying to outrun his father's ghost.

YA Paperback CHO
Choyce, Lesley. Thunderbowl.
Reading level: 4.0, Interest level: grades 7+
Jeremy wants to make it in the music business. Does he have what it takes?

YA Paperback KRO
Kropp, Paul. Caught in the Blizzard.
Reading level: 4.0, Interest level: grades 5-12.
Three teenagers in the Arctic deal with rivalry and crime, then must survive a winter storm.

YA Paperback MCC
McClintock, Norah. Tell.
Reading level: 4.0, Interest level: grades 7+
How much does David know about his stepfather's death?

YA Paperback PAT
Paton, Doug. Our Plane is Down.
Reading level: 4.0, Interest level: grades 4-10
A small plane goes down in the bush, hours from anywhere. A teenage brother and sister must fight
to rescue the pilot and survive themselves.

YA Paperback POL
Polak, Monique. No More Pranks.
Reading level: 4.0, Interest level: grades 7+
Pete has to pull the most important prank of his life to bring about justice.

Grade 5 reading level with high interest level

YA Paperback FAS
Fast, A.D. Beating Up Daniel.
Reading level: 5.0, Interest level: grades 7+
Justin feels like he is part of the cool school group when he becomes friends with the older
boys at Bayview High. When these new friends plan on a beating, Justin has to make a
decision about where he really stands.

YA Paperback FAS
Fast, A.D. Dangerous Rivals.
Reading level: 5.0, Interest level: grades 7+
The Bayview High crew has a shot at a medal at the biggest rowing event of the year. When a
rivalry with another high school gets out of control with gunshots and police, the kids at Bayview
must choose if winning is the most important thing.

YA Paperback LEV
Levigne, H.A. Dear Liz.
Reading level: 5.0, Interest level: grades 7+
When Liz Gordon agreed to write a column for the Bayview High newspaper, she didn't expect
romance with a secret admirer. Life gets confusing and complicated when Liz tries to find out
who he is.

YA Paperback SOT
Sotzek, H.G. The Edge.
Reading level: 5.0, Interest level: grades 7+
Ethan Munroe didn't think he would ever have a problem saying no to drugs. Soon Ethan feels
too pressured to refuse, trouble starts to follow him everywhere, and he finds himself pushed
towards the edge.



A reading list for reluctant readers in grades 3-6 by the ALSC School-Age Programs and Services Committee

Aliens are Coming: The True Account of the 1938 War of the Worlds Broadcast
by Meghan McCarthy. Knopf, 2006.
A funny look at the true story of the 1938 Halloween radio prank that fooled most of the
country into believing that Martians had invaded the planet. Includes excerpts from the
radio broadcast and notes on the historical implications of the event

Amelia’s Itchy-Twitchy Lovey-Dovey Summer at Camp Mosquito by Marissa Moss.
Simon and Schuster, 2008.
Amelia is hesitant to go to sleepaway camp with her best friend Carly, but she is
surprised to find that it is fun, even with bugs, long hikes and hard mattresses. One little
hang-up – both girls discover they like the same boy.
(Amelia series)

Basketball Bats by Betty Hicks. Henry Holt, 2008.
Fourth-grader Henry and his basketball teammates take on the Tigers, a bigger and
more organized group, and learn much about sportsmanship, friendship and working as
a team. (Gym Shorts series)

Beowulf: A Hero’s Tale Retold by James Rumford. Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
A simplified and illustrated retelling of the exploits of the Anglo-Saxon warrior, Beowulf,
and how he came to defeat the monster Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a dragon that
threatened the kingdom.




Chess Rumble by Greg Neri. Lee and Low, 2007.
Marcus learns through the guidance of an unconventional mentor and the game of
chess, how to cope with tragedy and his inner-city life.

The Curse of the Bologna Sandwich: Melvin Beederman Superhero by Greg Trine.
Henry Holt, 2006.
Move over Captain Underpants, Melvin Beederman has just graduated from Superhero
Academy and he is ready to take on the bad guys. Turns out, he is a pretty good
superhero - it just takes him a few tries to get it right.
(Melvin Beederman Superhero series)

"Librarian is a service occupation.  Gas station attendant of the mind."

  -Richard Powers

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. Amulet Books, 2007.
February 2009
A novel in cartoons about Greg Heffley and his introduction to middle school - where
undersized weaklings like himself share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner,
and already shaving. (Wimpy Kid series)

Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost! by Cornelia Funke.
Scholastic, 2006.
Life for ten year old Tom Tomsky is hard – he has an older sister, he’s clumsy, and only
he can see the ghosts around him. With the help of a friend, he seeks out and gets rid
of the ghosts who haunt him and becomes a champion ghosthunter.
(Ghosthunters series)

Heck: Where The Bad Kids Go by Dale E.Bayse: Random House, 2008.
When timid Milton and his older, scofflaw sister Marlo die in a marshmallow bear
explosion at Grizzly Mall, they are sent to Heck, an otherworldly reform school from
which they are determined to escape.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. Little Brown, 2004.
A Viking boy must disregard all tradition and use his brains, his ability to speak to
dragons, and the help of some unexpected friends to save the day.
Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Scholastic, 2007.

Cinematic-style illustrations take on much of the narrative in this innovative mystery
about a boy living hidden in a Paris train station, an elderly toymaker, and the secrets
that threaten to destroy them both.

The Invisible Rules of the Zoe Lama by Tish Cohen. Dutton, 2007.
Seventh grader Zoe uses her talent with people and her “invisible rules” to help her
family and fellow schoolmates with their problems. But sometimes even Zoe can’t
handle everything!

Julian Rodriguez by Alexander Stadler. Scholastic, 2008.
Julian Rodriguez must survive the indignities of being a schoolboy and still save the
world in this short, heavily illustrated romp set mostly in Julian’s science-fiction
influenced imagination.
(Julian Rodriquez series)

Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories About Growing Up Scieska by Jon
Scieszka. Viking, 2008.
Short chapters with family photos describe this popular author’s childhood and the
adventures he had growing up with five brothers. It’s easy to see how he developed his
wacky sense of humor with stories that are laugh out loud funny.

Lost and Found by Andrew Clements. Atheneum, 2008.
February 2009
Can twin brothers Ray and Jay successfully trick everyone into believing that they are
only one person when they move to a new town and start a new school?


Richie Rich: The Poor Little Rich Boy (Harvey Comics Classics, Vol. 2 )




The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11 Astronaut
Michael Collins by Bea Uusma Schyffert. Chronicle Books, 2003.
Fly to the dark side of the moon with Michael Collins, the astronaut who went all the way
to the moon, but never got to walk on its surface. Scrapbook-style illustrations and
photos help describe the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of one man's space travel.

Maxx Comedy: The Funniest Kid In America by Gordon Kormon.
Hyperion Books, 2003.
Eleven-year-old Max Carmody has wanted to be a stand-up comedian since he was
five, so when a contest is held to find the world’s funniest kid, he’ll try almost anything to
win, with mixed results.

The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues) by Rick Riordan. Scholastic, 2008.
Orphans Amy and Dan have a choice to make when their wealthy grandmother dies;
they can inherit one million dollars or they can receive the first of 39 clues that will lead
them to discover the secret that has made their family the most powerful one in the
world. Clues can be entered on the series website and readers can play along.
(The 39 Clues series)

Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff
by Jennifer L. Holm. Atheneum, 2007.
A scrapbook of notes, grocery receipts, report cards, bottle caps, newspaper clippings,
and receipts tell the story of one young girl’s middle school life.

The Million Dollar Putt by Dan Gutman. Hyperion Books for Children, 2006.
Assisted by his neighbor, blind thirteen-year-old Bogie Bogard will win one million
dollars if he can sink a ten-foot putt in Hawaii’s fifth annual Angus Killick Memorial

Mo and Jo: Fighting Together Forever by Jay Lynch. TOON Books, 2008.
Mona and Joey bicker about everything, especially about who loves their favorite
superhero, the Mighty Mojo, more. When the Mighty Mojo decides to pass his costume
on to them, the twins fight so much that they rip it in half. Now each twin possesses only
half the power! Can Mona and Joey look past their differences and combine their
powers so they can fight the evil Saw-Jaw?

My Haunted House by Angie Sage. Harper Collins.
Araminta Spookie lives in a haunted house with trapdoors and secret passageways
leading to surprising places. But her Aunt Tabby wants to sell Spook House. How can
February 2009
Araminta stop her? She needs the help of some of the ghostly residents to save her
home. (Araminta Spookie series)

Nic Bishop’s Spiders by Nic Bishop. Scholastic, 2007.
This photo-rich book contains astonishing facts about spiders. For instance, did you
know that the hairs on a spider’s legs can sense touch or that spiders turn their preys’
insides into soup?

Oggie Cooder by Sarah Weeks. Scholastic Press, 2008.
Quirky fourth-grader Oggie Cooder goes from being shunned to everyone’s best friend
when his uncanny ability to chew slices of cheese into the shapes of states wins him a
slot on a popular television talent show.

Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow by James Sturm.
Jump At The Sun: Hyperion, 2007.
A graphic novel about baseball pitcher Satchel Paige, who played baseball for the
Negro Leagues and was arguably the league’s hardest thrower, most entertaining
storyteller and greatest attraction. Told from the point of view of a sharecropper, the
story follows him from game to game as he travels throughout the segregated South.





Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac. HarperCollins, 2001.
After her parents disappear and she is turned over to the care of a strange “greatuncle”,
Molly must rely on her dreams about an old Mohawk story for her safety and
maybe even for her life.

Star Jumper: Journal of a Cardboard Genius by Frank Asch. Kids Can Press, 2006.
Alex has had enough of his pesky little brother, Jonathan. As a genius inventor, he
designs a Star Jumper, a spaceship that he plans to use to take him across the galaxy
to a brother-free planet.

Time Warp Trio. Vol. 1, Nightmare on Joe's Street / created by Jon Scieszka ;
adapted by Zachary Rau. Harper Trophy, 2006.
In this graphic novel, the Time Warp kids come face-to-face with Frankenstein’s
monster and it’s up to them to take him back to the nineteenth century before he is
erased from history forever. Based on the Time Warp Trio television series.
(Time Warp Trio Graphic Novel series)

To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel by Siena Cherson Siegel. Atheneum, 2006.
Siena was six when she first dreamed of becoming a dancer in Puerto Rico. Her
struggles take her from her home in Puerto Rico, to dance class in Boston, to her debut
performance on stage with the New York City Ballet. The graphic novel format captures
both her biographical story along with the beautiful movements of dance.


Short Books for Older Readers Grades 4-5


The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet
Secrets of Droon #1
Eric, Julie and Neal have just found something amazing in Eric's basement — a staircase to another world! RL 3


A Bear for Miguel
jE Reader ALPHIN
In war-torn El Salvador, Maria and her family must barter their possessions for food. Left in charge at the market, Maria is brave, even trading a precious item of her own. RL 2.5


Snoopy: Flying Ace to the Rescue
jE Reader BAILER
Snoopy imagines himself chasing the German World War I pilot, the Red Baron. RL 2


Little Rat Sets Sail
With a little courage and a lot of practice, Little Rat overcomes her fear of sailing. RL 3.5


Pish and Posh
When Pish and Posh discover fairy magic, they face a series of wacky surprises. RL 3


Stanley, Flat Again!
jE Reader BROWN
After Stanley Lambchop goes flat once again, he uses his flatness to help win a sailboat race and to rescue a classmate from a collapsed building. RL 3.5


Snowboarding on Monster Mountain
Callie tries to hide her extreme fear of heights on a snowboarding trip to Mammoth Mountain with best friend Jen. RL 3.5


Animal Trunk: Silly Poems to Read Aloud
j811.5 G423a 1999 Beginning Facts
“It’s easy to laugh, at the tall giraffe…” This collection of short poems captures the personalities of different animals, from crocodiles to monkeys to goats. RL 2


One Smooth Move
When his family moves into his grandmother's old house, Charlie meets another boy who likes to skateboard, but then finds that his own special skateboard is missing. RL 3.5


Alien for Rent
When a small fuzzy alien appears at their school, J.P. and Lexie accidentally direct his powers against Bruce, the bully, and things get out of control. RL 2.5


The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot
After hearing stories that a Bigfoot-like monster is haunting Camp Weno-wanna-getta-wedgee, Zack begins to find evidence that the legend may be true. RL 3


Rescue at Sea!
jE Reader HANEL
Paul wants a dog and proves himself worthy when he bravely rescues a dog stranded in a fishing boat during a storm. RL 3.5


Salt In His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream
Young Michael Jordan, who is smaller than the other players, learns that determination and hard work are more important than size when playing good basketball. RL 3.5


Emma’s Strange Pet
jE Reader LITTLE
Emma is allergic to animals with fur, but because she and her adopted brother Max really want a pet, they decide to try a lizard. RL2


The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks Won the War
jE Reader LITTLE
Tells how the Greeks used a wooden horse to win the Trojan War. RL 3.5


The Bookstore Burglar
Mr. Brown has a bookstore. But this is not just any old bookstore: This one is haunted by ghosts. RL 2


The New Kid at School
Wiglaf is off to Dragon Slayers' Academy, little knowing they will ask him to slay a dragon on his first day of school! Can you slay a dragon with bad jokes? RL 3.5


See Pip Point
jE Beginning Reader MILGRIM
When Pip the mouse floats off with Otto the robot's balloon, Otto and Zee the Bee go to the rescue. RL 1.5


"A person is known by the company his mind keeps"



The Drinking Gourd
jE Reader MONJO
Sent home alone for misbehaving in church, Tommy discovers that his house is a station for the underground railroad. RL 3


Stuart’s Cape
Stuart is totally bored — until he makes a cape out of 100 old neckties and begins having weird adventures, like flying (but he can’t land!) and growing toast. RL 3


Mush, a Dog From Space
Kelly, who has wanted a pet dog for a long time, runs into a highly-educated, mushamute dog from the planet Growf-Woof-Woof. RL 3


How to Eat Fried Worms
Billy bet he could eat 15 worms in 15 days! The worms are readily supplied by his opponent, whose motto seems to be the bigger and juicier the better! RL 3.5


Sideways Stories from Wayside School
Read funny episodes from the classroom on the 30th floor of Wayside School, which was accidentally built sideways with one classroom on each story. RL 3.5


Young Wolf’s First Hunt
Although his father thinks that Young Wolf is still too young to join in the tribe's buffalo hunt, Young Wolf tries to prepare himself, his horse and a friend to take part. RL 2.5


When Everybody Wore a Hat
j813.54 S818w 2003 Beginning Facts
The author tells about what life was like when he was a boy, almost 100 years ago. RL 2.5


Race Cars
j629.228 S857r 2002
Read all about different kinds of race cars and how they’re put together. RL 3


The Viper
Peggy receives a mysterious call from the Viper, who warns that he is coming her way! RL 1.5



Somewhere Today: A Book Of Peace
Shows people all over the world helping to bring about peace by doing things to help and care for one another and our world. RL 2.5


The Emperor’s Birthday Suit
The Emperor loves new clothes and for his birthday two clever tailors make him a new suit. Find out what the Emperor ends up wearing. RL 3


First Day on a Strange New Planet
Johnny Smith, a student from Earth, and Blorp Glorp, a student from the newly discovered planet Meep, change places. RL 3.5


Commander Toad and the Big Black Hole
jE Beginning Reader YOLEN
The space ship Star Warts encounters a black hole that threatens the ship with doom. RL 3


"Just say know to books"


Readers in Grades 5 and 6
 Reading Levels 2–4



The Rope Trick
Motivated by her quest to learn a legendary rope trick, the magician Princess Lidi and her troupe embark on a journey through Renaissance Italy. RL 4


Hungry Plants
j583.75 B335h 2000 Beginning Facts
Find out about the structure and behavior of various carnivorous plants, including the Venus flytrap, sundew, pitcher plant and bladderwort. RL 4








Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
Faced with the difficulties of growing up and choosing a religion, a 12-year-old girl talks over her problems with her own private God. RL 3.5


Say Yes
In her efforts to hang on following the disappearance of her stepmother, Casey resorts to anything, including robbery. RL 3.5


j940.1D153k 1998
William, a page in England in 1415, dreams of becoming a squire and hopes someday to be dubbed a knight. RL 3


Because of Winn Dixie
India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie. RL 4


I Am Spider-Man
With his new spider-like abilities, Peter Parker can spin webs, climb buildings, and sense danger before it happens in this cartoon book. RL 2


Think Again
It's never easy being the new kid at school, especially if you're different from everyone else in class. CD performed by Doug E. Fresh is included. RL 4



My Life Among the Aliens
In this hilarious chapter book, Will and Rob begin to wonder if it is their mother's bran muffins that are attracting the aliens that keep showing up at their house. RL 4


Time Soldiers No. 1: Rex
"Do you have what it takes to be a time soldier? Are you up for the adventure? Do you dare?" RL 3.2


The Music of Dolphins
A teenaged girl, rescued from the sea by researchers, must decide whether to stay with her fellow humans or return to the dolphins who raised her. RL 3.5


Hill of Fire
jE Reader LEWIS
Read the story of the birth of Paricutin Volcano in the field of a poor Mexican farmer. RL 3

L.L. Cool J
And the winner Is

“Remember when you won how you laughed at your competition?” LL Cool J rhymes about winning and losing gracefully in basketball. Includes a CD performed by LL Cool J. RL 2.5


I Am Rosa Parks
jB-P253i Beginning Facts, CASSETTE j323.092 PARKS
The black woman whose acts of civil disobedience led to the 1956 Supreme Court order to desegregate buses in Montgomery, Alabama, explains what she did and why. RL 3.5


There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom
Bradley Chalkers, an 11-year-old misfit, learns to believe in himself when he gets to know the new school counselor, who is a sort of misfit too. RL 3.5


The Ink Drinker
A boy who hates books discovers an ink-drinking vampire in his father's bookshop and follows him to his underground vault. RL 4


Rimshots: Basketball Pix, Rolls, and Rhythms
j796.323 S644r 1999
The emotions felt by basketball lovers on and off the court sizzle here through stories, poems and pictures. RL 4


Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye
The gang from The Rodent's Gazette are dragged into a treasure hunt when they discover an old, mysterious map showing a secret treasure hidden on a faraway island. RL 3.5


Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart: The Story of Amber and Essie Told Here in Poems And Pictures
Their mother is working and their father has been sent to jail, so Amber and Essie take care of each other in these sometimes funny, sometimes sad poems and portraits. RL 4


Giant Octopuses
j594.56 Z94g 2000
Get up close and personal with a giant octopus, and learn what it eats, how it moves, and where it lives. RL 2.5


"I find television very educational. Every time someone turns it on, I go in the other room and read a book."

-Groucho Marx


Readers in Grades 7–8
 Reading Levels 3–4




Among the cobwebs and dead flies in the old garage, Michael finds a mysterious creature. Is this stranger a bird, or maybe an angel? RL 3.5


Burger Wuss
Anything goes when geeky Anthony starts a war between the workers at two competing fast food restaurants. RL 3.5

Animal Geography:Africa

Joanne Mattern

The author has created an informational format that is suitable for presentation to primary grade students.





Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel
When Philip, a high school freshman, is suspended for singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" during homeroom, it soon becomes a national news story. RL 3.5


Stand Tall
At six-foot-three, Tree is the tallest 12-year-old ever seen in his town. Being a tree isn’t easy: Everyone expects him to play basketball, but Tree doesn’t even like sports. RL 4


A Stone in My Hand
Malaak and her family are touched by the violence in Gaza between Jews and Palestinians when first her father disappears and then her older brother is drawn to the Islamic Jihad. RL 3.5


After his older brother is gunned down on the street, Tito learns that his brother may have hidden stolen drug money in their family home — money the dealers will kill for. RL 3.5


Begging For Change
Teenager Raspberry Hill tries to sort out her feelings of disgust, shame and love for her homeless, drug addicted father. RL 3.5


Breathing Underwater
Nick used to hit his girlfriend Caitlin. Now he’s in counseling, keeping this journal about himself and Caitlin, his anger, and living with his abusive father. RL 4


CrashBoomLove: A Novel In Verse
Sixteen-year-old Cesar Garcia, who lives with his mother (his father left home), narrates his struggles with life as a Mexican-American high school student. RL 3.5


Stoner & Spaz
With an arm and a leg that don’t work all that well, Ben, a shy high school student (with cerebral palsy) finds adventure and friendship in the company of Colleen, who’s pretty, fun — and a drug addict. RL 3.5


The Paper Doorway: Funny Verse And Nothing Worse
j811.5 K818p 2001
Read absurd poems from the master of terror. RL 3.5


Jen was at the party. A red-haired man was murdered in the upstairs bedroom — and now Jen wonders if her boyfriend knows what really happened that night. RL 3

George W. Goethals: Panama Canal Engineer

A biopgraphy for teenagers at the fourth grade reading level.

Lathan Jean






The Wish
When granted her wish to be the most popular girl in middle school, Wilma, an eighth grader, forgets that she will graduate in three weeks and her popularity will vanish. RL 3.5



Dancing With an Alien
Branko, a teenage boy from outer space, travels to earth on a mission to help save his planet. If he falls in love with the human girl Tonia, does he doom his mission to fail? RL 3


Can of Worms
Bullied and unhappy at school because of his weird stories about being an alien, Mike sends a distress call into space asking to be rescued from the ignorance and cruelty of his life on Earth. RL 4


A Step from Heaven
Young Ju Park and her family, who are Korean, find it difficult to learn English and adjust to life in America. RL 4


Define "Normal": A Novel
When she agrees to meet with Jasmine as a peer counselor at their middle school, Antonia never dreams that this girl with the black lipstick and pierced eyebrow will end up helping her deal with the serious problems she faces at home. RL3.5

Rawson Katherine

If You Were a Parrot

A book for young teens at a fourth grade level.






Shark Bait
Mokes is torn between obeying his father and being with his friends, who plan to go see a fight between an island boy and a sailor. RL 3.5


Lucy the Giant
Fifteen-year-old Lucy, the largest girl in her school, leaves her small Alaska town and her alcoholic father and discovers hardship and friendship while posing as an adult aboard a commercial fishing boat. RL 4






Dangerous Girls: A Novel
After 16-year-old twins Destiny and Livvy are turned into partial vampires at a summer camp, they try to find the "Restorer," a person who can return them to normal. RL 3.5


The Shadow Place
Lissa is worried about Rodney. She’s sworn to secrecy, but her lifelong friend is acting weird and increasingly hostile toward his abusive father. Then she learns in a chat room that Rodney intends to buy a gun. RL 3.5

Van Draanen

Swear to Howdy
Russell and Joey are bound together in a friendship based on neighborhood adventures, complaining about their older sisters, family secrets and guilt. RL 4


Box Girl
Gwen’s plans to spend eighth grade as a loner are upset by the new girl, Clara, who insists on being her friend. RL 4


A Piece of Heaven
Haley holds her life together with the help of good people after her mother suffers a nervous breakdown and her brother is arrested. RL 3.5



Kennedy, E. (2009). Retrieved August 20, 2009 from website:

Retrieved August 18, 2009 from the website:

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