Nonfiction for Reluctant Readers

boy reading with mother

If your child is struggling to learn how to read, you may find yourself looking for nonfiction for reluctant readers.

The Advantages of Nonfiction

Picture books and chapter books make up a large portion of many libraries for children, but there are plenty of reasons to consider adding a nonfiction section to your assortment of reading materials.

  • Many nonfiction materials are richly illustrated. All children love illustrations in books, but pictures are especially important for those who are struggling to read.
  • Nonfiction materials are often broken down into shorter sections, which makes them seem more manageable for a struggling reader. A child who is discouraged by his inability to read a chapter book can still work his way through a section on lions in a book about animals you'd find at the zoo.
  • Nonfiction books make direct connections to a child's life. It can be hard for your child to see the relevance of a fictional story about a little boy and his pet monkey. However, factual information about the behavior of monkeys makes your family's upcoming trip to the zoo seem much more interesting.

Appealing to Your Child's Interests

When looking for nonfiction for reluctant readers, consider your child's interests. Just as adult readers gravitate towards books that appeal to their personal interests, children will be more likely to read materials about topics that they enjoy.

Some common topics of interest for young children include:

  • Animals - Both boys and girls love animals, so nonfiction offering trivia about animals from various parts of the world is a good way to capture the attention of a reluctant reader.
  • History - Young boys are often very interested in certain historical time periods or events, such as ancient Egypt or World War II.
  • Celebrities - You may not approve of your daughter's obsession with a certain pop star, but reading a biography of her favorite singer can be a good way for her to practice her literacy skills.
  • Crafts - How to books covering topics such as learning how to draw, paint, knit, or make jewelry tend to be very popular with young girls.
  • Science - Reading a book to learn why the sky is blue or how to make your own camera using household items appeals to a child's natural sense of curiosity.

Examples of Nonfiction for Reluctant Readers

If you're on a tight budget, it's a good idea to visit your local public library with your child before you head out to the bookstore to start purchasing new reading materials. Browsing through the selections that are available will give you some ideas of what might be a good addition to your home library.

Here are some examples of nonfiction reading materials your child might enjoy.

  • DK Publishing has a large assortment of nonfiction reading materials on topics of interest to children, ranging from science books to books for beginning crafters.
  • The Everything Kid series of books covers a variety of interesting nonfiction topics, including books on football, sharks, science experiments, jokes, mazes, and Bible trivia.
  • Klutz Kids books cover topics such as designing jewelry, making potholders, folding paper airplanes, and building cars from Legos.
  • World Book is best known for producing those massive encyclopedia sets you remember from your own elementary school years, but the company also publishes educational books focusing on animals, science, customs from around the world, and the biographies of famous people throughout history.

Alternative Formats

When you're trying to motivate a reluctant reader, it's helpful to build a library that also includes materials in formats other than a traditional book. For example:

  • Comic books
  • Graphic novels
  • Manga
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • E-books

Reading online is appealing for many children, but you will need to be cautious of Internet safety when using this tactic to find nonfiction for reluctant readers. In addition to concerns about viruses and spyware, children may inadvertently stumble across inappropriate material or come in contact with people trying to obtain personal information.

You can learn more about keeping your children safe online by reviewing the following articles:

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Nonfiction for Reluctant Readers