As part of our blogiversary, Ricki and I decided to revisit some of our favorite posts and recreate them with a new twist. My original post, on July 28th, 2013, shared my recommendation for books that struggling/reluctant readers had enjoyed in my classroom. Although many of these books are still favorites, thought it would be interesting to let the students speak for themselves.
I have a mix of students who check out from my classroom library; however, the students who visit the most are from our intensive reading classes which is an intervention class for students reading below grade level. I did decide, though, not to include the word “struggling” in my title because this is a list of books that all readers of all levels can enjoy.
Today I am going to share the top books that were checked out from my classroom library this last year.
**I did combine some series into one if all of the books in the series were high volume check outs.**
Tied for 15. Hereville by Barry Deutsch
Tied for 15. Missile Mouse: Rescue on Tankium 3 by Jake Parker
Tied for 15. Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri
14. Cleopatra in Space: Target Practice by Mike Maihack
13. Bad Island by Doug TenNapel
12. Tommysaurus Rex by Doug TenNapel
11. Scorch Trials (#2 in the Maze Runner series) by James Dashner
10. Teen Boat! by Dave Roman
9. Mal and Chad (series) by Stephen McCranie
8. Cow Boy by Nate Cosby
7. Bird and Squirrel: On the Run by James Burks
6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (specifically The Long Haul, Hard Luck, and The Third Wheel) by Jeff Kinney
5. Hazardous Tales (series; I only had #1, 2, & 3 in my library last year) by Nathan Hale
4. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
3. Explorer (#1 & #2) edited by Kazu Kibuishi
2. Smile and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
1. Amulet (series) by Kazu Kibuishi
**By far the most popular book in my classroom since book #1 came out**
As you can see from the list, graphic novels are very popular with my readers. To be more precise, 34 of my top 35 checked out books were graphic or illustrated novels/series.
I think there are many reasons why graphic novels are favorites: helps students visualize, fun to read as many of these students have only found reading to be a horrible chore, and colorful! Graphic novels are something I truly believe will help students love reading more and become better readers, and if you look at how much these students are reading and increasing in their reading ability, I think they back me up. (To see more research about the importance of graphic novels, check out my graphic novel teaching guide with Abrams.)
What books/series do you find to be most popular with your middle school readers who are reading below grade level?
Have you found success with the books I listed above?
Have you read any of the books I’ve listed? Did you enjoy them?
I hope this list of books helps point you in the direction of some texts that your struggling readers will truly love!