Books to Get Kids Reading

Research has shown that reading contributes to vocabulary development. Our knowledge of vocabulary directly affects our ability to understand what we read.

It has also been demonstrated that the more one reads, the better reader one becomes.

Therefore, it is very important that we encourage children to read as much as possible.

So, how do we get children who are dyslexic to read? It’s a good question. None of us likes to do something that we are not very good at.

One way that has proven successful is to have children and teens read in areas of interest.

Rosalie Fink has published on successful dyslexic adults who learned to read by pursuing areas of interest. Because the topic was of such high interest to them, they were highly motivated to read about the content and persevered despite the reading challenges. 

One of the difficulties we face is finding reading material that is rich and of interest to the child, yet is not so difficult that he or she can’t access the text.

We have identified some sources that have adapted context and vocabulary rich novels, including some of the classics, for the struggling reader. We’ve also provided a link to the International Reading Association’s resource list of books that students in grades 7–12 have identified to be of interest to them.

Whether you are a parent or a teacher, make time in the day where kids have time to read for fun. Leisure reading will promote reading skills. And, importantly, let them choose—whether it’s a novel, a comic book, a sports magazine—the goal is to read, read, read and enjoy it!


  • 15 Best FREE Printable Books for Early Reading 2021

    15 Best FREE Printable Books for Early Reading 2021

    Fun, free printable books for English-speaking kids (aged 4-8), and for people who are learning to read English as a second language.

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany

    A Prayer for Owen Meany

    In 1953, Owen Meany hits a foul ball in his Little League game that strikes and kills his best friend’s mother. Owen searchers for deeper meaning in this coming-of-age tale written by a dyslexic author.

  • The Adventures of Captain Underpants

    The Adventures of Captain Underpants

    The troublemaking duo of George and Harold hypnotize their grouchy principal into believing that he is a superhero named ‘The Amazing Captain Underpants’. This book is written in comic book style to engage young readers.

  • Amulet Book 1: The Stonekeeper

    Amulet Book 1: The Stonekeeper

    by Kazu Kibuishi—a graphic novel that had me hooked within pages!


  • Back to Front and Upside Down

    Back to Front and Upside Down

    Follow Stan as he overcomes his frustration with letters, with a friend's help, and learns to make his letters come out "the right way round and the right way up."


  • Barrington Stoke

    Barrington Stoke

    Barrington Stoke is an independent publisher dedicated to cracking reading and has books for both children and adults. Their books are commissioned, edited, and designed to minimize some of the obstacles that can stop struggling, reluctant, or dyslexic readers getting hooked by a book.

  • Beyond Decodables

    Beyond Decodables

    Beyond Decodables is an online resource that aims to support reading success by providing resources to practice decoding skills in meaningful contexts. It houses a collection of free research-based books that were designed to allow children to practice their skills.

  • Capstone

    Capstone Press

    Capstone Press offers high-interest educational and illustrated books aimed at different reading and interest levels. There are different series, including one with graphic-novel biographies, and one with more historically focused books.

  • Dekko Comics

    Dekko Comics

    Designed for students aged 9-12 years old, Dekko Comics provides an engaging platform for learning and reading. Available in subscriptions from 3-12 months or individual copies, each comic varies in subject matter that is based on UK school curriculum. It has been proven to be motivational and impactful for those who struggle to learn in normal learning styles, such as those with dyslexia and autism.

  • DogonLog1

    Dog on a Log Books

    A delightful book series that gives kids a chance to practice towards mastery of newly learned phonics rules before introducing the next set of rules. Fun and engaging books that are perfect for phonics readers and dyslexic learners. Start anywhere in the series, according to your child's reading level.

  • Flyleaf Publishing logo

    Flyleaf Publishing

    Authentic, decodable books provide successful and motivating first reading experiences for students who are not yet fluent readers. Comprehensive instructional materials help teachers develop students’ foundational reading skills and close reading skills, beginning students on their path toward a literate future.

  • Fried Green Tomatoes

    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café

    Evelyn, and unhappy housewife, and Ninny, an elderly nursing home resident, develop an unlikely friendship that inspires both women to find happiness in their lives.

  • Hank Zipzer

    Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Underachiever

    Henry Winkler (a.k.a. “The Fonz” from Happy Days) is the co-author of a series featuring a young dyslexic. The protagonist, Hank Zipzer, is inspired by Winkler’s own experiences in school and on the set of Happy Days, where he used his humor and imagination to succeed despite his dyslexia.

  • Hank Zipzer

    Harry Potter books 1–7

    by JK Rowling—getting ready for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—What more is there to say about that?


  • High Noon

    High Noon Books

    High Noon Books offers a wide selection of books for low-level readers, including a Streamlined Shakespeare series, which presents six classic Shakespeare plays in an easier-to-read format. The website also offers classics such as Great Expectations and The Count of Monte Cristo, as well as Sci-Fi, Mystery, and Sports books.

  • Kindred


    Dana, a modern African-America woman, suffers a dizzy spell which transports her back in time to the antebellum South. This novel exposes truths about race and identity.

  • Magic Tree House books

    Magic Tree House books

    by Mary Pope Osborne. Younger kids really like it when they are reading a “chapter book” and these are good. And, the narratives have wonderful companion texts that are nonfiction!

  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

    by Robert C. O’Brien—a 1972 Newbery Medal winner. Many of my kiddos really love books with anthropomorphic animals. (I’ll watch the movie when we’ve finished.) And, anthropomorphic is a great word to tear apart using our knowledge of Latin and Greek origins of English words!

  • My Name is Brain Brian

    My Name is Brain Brian

    Brian is mocked by his peers for his struggles in reading and writing until his teacher detects that he has dyslexia. Brian is able to get the help he needs to be become a successful student.

  • Percy Jackson's World

    Percy Jackson's World

    This kid-friendly series was recommended to us by a parent. Centered on Greek mythology, each book follows the main character, Percy Jackson, through different adventures that are loosely based on those of ancient Greek heroes.

  • Phonic Books

    Phonic Books

    Designed for kids by three teachers, their books are designed to engage and enthuse beginner and reluctant readers. The highly-structured phonic sequence ensures reading success and building of confidence from the very beginning.

  • Saddleback

    Saddleback Educational Publishing

    The Saddleback classics (e.g. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Pride & Prejudice) are adapted for developing readers at a 4.0–5.0 reading level. The adaptations still contain the author’s style and themes, but they have fewer words, shorter paragraphs, and less complex wording. Some even have audio. 

  • Thank you, Mr. Falker

    Thank You, Mr. Falker

    In this Patricia Polacco children's book, a student excited to learn is challenged when she finds it difficult to read letters and numbers. She struggles with bullying from her classmates but is then lucky to finally have a teacher who recognizes her talent and takes the time to support her reading journey. This is a great resource for reassuring children struggling with learning disabilities.

  • Thunder Cake

    Thunder Cake

    Beautiful illustrations and text tell the tale of a grandmother helping a little girl overcome her fear of thunder by baking a special cake. This book will help young readers alleviate their own bad weather fears.

  • The True Blue Scouts of the Sugar Man Swamp

    The True Blue Scouts of the Sugar Man Swamp

    by Kathi Appelt, a 2013 National Book Award finalist and another book with anthropomorphic animals.


  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

    The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

    Charlotte Doyle joins an all-male crew aboard a transatlantic ship in 1832. She experiences thrilling adventure while helping the crew expose the evil doings of the captain.

  • Who HQ

    Who HQ

    “Who was?” books are early elementary reads for students, covering over 100 famous figures in history such as Benjamin Franklin, Claude Monet, and Marco Polo. There are also the “What was?” and “Where is?” book series, which explain historic events landmarks such as the Boston Tea Party and the Great Wall of China.

  • International Reading Association

    Young Adults’ Choices Reading List—International Reading Association

    This is a list of books recommended by teenage readers in grades 7–12. The website also offers Teacher’s Choices and Children’s Choices lists.


For even more books to get kids reading, check out Amazon's "Dyslexic-Friendly" book list, which consists of books that have all been printed in the OpenDyslexic font. Other great books to check out include this Phonics Book Series.