Everyone knows children who read do better at school – and at life for that matter. So how do you get your reluctant reader to develop a lifelong love of books?

Sian Goodspeed, Founder of Flying Start Tuition, believes it’s about introducing the right books at the right time. She shares some of her all-time favourites.

Sian’s tips: Look for books with beautiful illustrations, lots of colour and images, a good dash of humour, as well as characters and a plot that your child will really relate to. Don’t take the age guides too seriously. Many of these books can be enjoyed by all ages.

Books for children aged 3-5

AliensLoveAliens Love Underpants – Claire Friedman
(Pirates love Underpants, Monsters Love Underpants, Aliens Love Dinopants etc)
These books are whacky and funny, with beautiful illustrations to capture the imagination of even the most reluctant reader.
They are perfect for reading together.

CharlieandlolaCharlie and Lola Series – Lauren Child
Your child will love the charming character of little Lola and the everyday challenges she faces with her brother, Charlie, in their world of imaginary friends and pink milk.

Books for children aged 7-9

CaptainunderpantscoverThe Captain Underpants series – Dav Pilkey
Don’t be a prude. Kids love bathroom humour and these books are full of it. Even if they get hooked on gross-out jokes for a while, if it gets them reading, who cares?
The books offer a clever and fast-paced take on time travel with lots of crude potty jokes thrown in. Cartoon pictures enhance the over-the-top jokes.

MudpuddleMudpuddle Farm – Michael Morpurgo
This book of short stories is a good introduction to award-winning children’s author, Michael Morpurgo, particularly if your child is into animals. It includes six animal adventures – bringing to life interactions of animals on the farm.

RainbowFairiesRainbow Fairies (Series) –Daisy Meadows
I know, literature it’s not, but don’t sneer. The point is to get them reading, remember.
Several writers actually write these books under the pseudonym Daisy Meadows. The books are formulaic, uses pop culture and have unashamedly gender-specific titles, but little girls often love these stories because they describe a world they’re familiar with.

horrid-henryHorrid Henry (Series) – Francesca Simon
Horrid Henry is a prize-winning 20-million-copy-selling series, illustrated by Tony Ross, who also illustrates David Walliams’ children’s books.
The humour, great illustrations and irreverent character appeal to most boys and girls at some point.

Books for children aged 9-11

DiaryofwimpykidDiary of a Wimpy Kid (Series) – Jeff Kinney
The easy journal format and laugh-out-loud scenes make these books easy to read. The humour and little life lessons shared by middle-schooler Greg who records all his misadventures have mass appeal.

PercyjacksonPercy Jackson & the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
The Percy Jackson books are great. They are quite long for reluctant readers, but good for children who are starting to get more into books. The storylines weave modern children with Greek Myths and are action-packed and well written.

RecruitThe Recruit – Robert Muchamore
(The Cherub series)
Great for boys who love pacey action stories. Parents should be aware that these books do feature some violence and boy-girl references, but children like the honesty.
The stories feature children recruited into a secret training camp to fight villains.

The-Dancing-BearThe Dancing Bear (Series) Michael Murpurgo
The story is about a young girl who adopts an abandoned bear cub – this again, is a great read for girls and boys who love animals.

StormbreakerStormbreaker by Alex Rider
(Stormbreaker series)
The hero is a 14-year-old in a spy thriller – great, captivating reader and no reason why you can’t read it out aloud with your older child.

tomgatesTom Gates – Liz Pichon
The Tom Gates series is great for visual learners because of its colourful covers, cartoon-style pictures, as well as humour and relatability. War and Peace can come later.

Tom Gates is a master of excuses and an expert doodler, who torments his sister Delia and shares his problems and the unfortunate events that happen in his life. Likely to cause giggling fits.

Sian Goodspeed is the owner of Flying Start Tuition – an award-winning tutoring company in Buckinghamshire,
At Flying Start Tuition®, we have a different approach to teaching which takes the stress out of schoolwork and maximises success.
To find out more, visit www.flyingstarttuition.co.uk or call us on:
01494 772 898 or email us at: