I have been on the hunt as of late for books that I can hand to one of my hardest student groups; my resistant readers. Not just reluctant readers, not just readers that may have forgotten how much they like reading, no, the students that really do not want to read and would rather fake read every single day of the year rather than actually read. These are the kids I am book hunting for. So what are some of the books that seem to be hooking not just my reluctant readers but even my resistant ones (and almost every other reader as well)?
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt has hands-down been the biggest game changer for a lot of my readers. I have 7 copies circulating and none of them sit on the shelf for more than a day. We have it on Audible as well for students who prefer to listen to their books.
Another frequently read book (and listened to as well) is All American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds. Masterful story telling and a gripping narrative means that this book has been flying off the shelves.
Noggin’ by John Corey Whaley is one that has been passed from student to student and is probably one of the most frequently book-talked books in our room. The story is easily accessible to many levels of reading development and grips the students with its premise of cryogenics and what it means to be 16 in a a 21-year-old’s body.
Who would think that our most resistant readers start to fall in love with reading through free verse? What Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover has done for our reading life cannot be underestimated. I have already had to replace my copies of this book this year and students are eagerly awaiting Booked on it’s arrival date of April 5th.
Reality Boy by A.S.King may have a very angry protagonist but I think the anger and “realness” of the books is what draws readers to it. This is another book that is often recommended from student to student.
When a resistant reader recommended this book to me I knew it had staying power in our classroom. Carl Deuker’s Gym Candy is not your typical sports book and I think that is why it has been so popular with many resistant readers. It is a little bit raw and a little bit unresolved, a perfect choice for many of my more picky readers.
For the first time ever, I used We Were Liars by e.lockhart (Emily Jenkins’ pen name for her YA books) and I was not disappointed. It was clear that my group of readers quickly became absorbed as they begged for just one more minute of reading time.
It can come as no surprise that Monster by Walter Dean Meyers is a book many readers gravitate to. I have loved the reflections and thoughtful dialogue that this books creates but even more so how many students have recommended to each other.
Another no surprise here book is The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I always tell students that parents need to be alright with them reading it, which definitely does pique their interest, however, the book pulls them in by itself.
What are your must adds/must reads that will hook resistant readers?