Chapter Books for Reluctant Readers: How to Get Them Hooked

Getting children to read can be a challenge, especially for those who are reluctant or disinterested in books. However, introducing them to the right chapter books can make all the difference. The following blog post will highlight some of the best chapter books for reluctant readers and offer tips on how to get kids hooked on reading.
You can also take our quiz to get a list of recommendations based on 5 simple questions

Why Chapter Books?

Chapter books are a great way to encourage reading because they offer a sense of accomplishment and progress. Children can see their progress through each chapter, which can motivate them to continue reading. Additionally, chapter books are often written in an engaging style that appeals to kids and can hold their attention for longer periods of time compared to shorter picture books.

What Makes a Good Chapter Book for Reluctant Readers?

When selecting chapter books for reluctant readers, it's important to consider various factors that will increase the likelihood of them reading. The following are some key factors to consider when choosing chapter books for reluctant readers:

1. Interests: 

Children are more likely to be engaged in a book that reflects their own interests, such as sports, science fiction, mystery, or humor. When selecting books, consider the child's favorite TV shows, movies, and hobbies. For example, if they like camping you'll want to take a look at The Campground Kids.

At Bakken Books, we focus on interest-based content for this reason. We want kids to find a book series that resonates with their interests. To check out what titles we offer click here.

2. Reading level:

The reading level should be appropriate for the child's age and ability. A book that is too difficult can be discouraging, while a book that is too easy can be boring. Make sure to spend a little extra time getting the feel for this, as it will go a LONG way! Sample pages are a great way to have a kid read to you and see how they do, especially if you aren't sure how to gauge the book reading level.

3. Attention span:

Children with short attention spans may struggle with longer books, so consider shorter chapter books or books with illustrations that break up the text. For example, if it is a first-time chapter book reader, you might want to look for chapter books around the 50-page to 100-page range. 

4. Characters:

Children often connect with characters in books, so consider books with relatable or likable characters to your kids' personalities, or even people they aspire to be. 

5. Length of Chapters:

We've found that leaving chapters shorter in our books that are geared toward reluctant readers has had a tremendous impact on increasing a reluctant reader's interest in the book. Try to get samples of the first few pages of a book to see if the chapters are only 5 - 10 pages; a great way to make the reader feel like they are making great progress.


Top 9 Chapter Books for Reluctant Readers

The following is a list of some of the best chapter books for reluctant readers, along with a brief description of each:

  1. "The Fishing Chronicles" series by Lane Walker: This series is awesome for any kid who loves the outdoors and adventure. These books follow a new character in each book, with each title incorporating a life lesson for kids to learn. With the short chapters and great writing style by Mr. Walker, you can't go wrong with this series.
  2. "The Magic Tree House" series by Mary Pope Osborne: This series is perfect for kids who love adventure and mystery. The stories follow siblings Jack and Annie as they travel through time and space, solving mysteries and having fun along the way.

  3. "The Campground Kids" series by C.R. Fulton: This series incorporates humor, mystery, and adventure, combined with page-turning action, so kids can't put them down.
  4. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series by Jeff Kinney: This humorous series is perfect for kids who love to laugh. The stories follow the misadventures of Greg Heffley, a middle school student who struggles with school, family, and social life.
  5. "Captain Underpants" series by Dav Pilkey: This series is perfect for kids who love humor and superhero stories. The stories follow the adventures of George and Harold, two mischievous kids who create a superhero called Captain Underpants.

  6. "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series by Rick Riordan: This series is perfect for kids who love Greek mythology and action-packed adventures. The stories follow Percy Jackson, a demigod who discovers that he is the son of Poseidon and must save the world of Greek gods and monsters.

  7. "The Mysterious Benedict Society" series by Trenton Lee Stewart: This series is perfect for kids who love mystery and adventure. The stories follow a group of children who are selected to join a secret society to save the world from a dangerous organization.

  8. "Warrior Cats" series by Erin Hunter: This series is perfect for kids who love cats and action-packed adventures. The stories follow a group of cats as they navigate their way through the wild, fighting for survival and forming new alliances.

  9. "The 39 Clues" series by multiple authors: This series is perfect for kids who love mystery and adventure. The stories follow Amy and Dan, two cousins, as they travel the world to uncover the secrets of the 39 Clues, a powerful and mysterious source of knowledge.

Tips for Getting Reluctant Readers Hooked on Reading

Find books that match their interests:

As mentioned above, children are more likely to be engaged in books that reflect their own interests. Take the time to understand what they like and what they don't like, and select books accordingly.

Read with them:

Spending time reading with your child can help build a strong bond and encourage them to continue reading. You can also discuss the books with them and ask questions to help them think more deeply about the story.

Create a reading routine:

Establishing a regular reading routine can help children develop a love for reading. Set aside time each day for reading, and make it a priority.

Encourage them to read independently:

While reading with your child is important, it's also important to encourage them to read independently. Give them the freedom to choose their own books and let them explore their own interests.

Offer incentives:

Children are often motivated by rewards, so consider offering incentives for reading. For example, you could offer a special treat or privilege for each book they finish.

Make reading fun:

Reading should be fun, not a chore. Encourage children to explore their own interests and find books that are both challenging and enjoyable.

Use technology:

There are many tools available to help make reading more engaging, such as e-books, audiobooks, and educational apps. Consider incorporating these into your child's reading routine.

Unlock the Power of Reading

In conclusion, chapter books are a great way to encourage reading in children, especially for those who are reluctant or disinterested in books. When selecting chapter books for reluctant readers, consider the child's interests, reading level, and attention span, and select books that are both challenging and enjoyable. Additionally, there are many tips for getting children hooked on reading, including finding books that match their interests, reading with them, creating a reading routine, and using technology to make reading more engaging. By using these strategies, you can help your child develop a love for reading and encourage them to continue reading for many years to come.


At Bakken Books, one of our core missions is to bring wholesome books to kids based on interests they will enjoy. We are working very hard to bring specific interest-based chapter books to the market, in order to help increase early interest in reading books. If you want to see if we have something to match your child's interest click here.

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