Developing Reading Skills

Reading is about more than fiction books; it’s important to encourage reading of all kinds of literature.  If your child loves reading then that's fabulous but, if your child is a reluctant reader – don’t despair! Factual books, comics, magazines, shopping lists, recipes, cereal packets and road signs are often more appealing to children who don’t love to curl up with a good book, and these opportunities to develop and practise reading can easily be overlooked.  As adults we read more frequently than we generally realise – words surround us! Encourage your child to read the print that they encounter in their everyday life and they will be practising their reading skills without even knowing it.


Many parents stop reading to their children as their children get older but reading to children, whatever their age, is still important even when children are able to read to themselves.  By choosing to read your child a book that is a little above their independent reading level you will be encouraging the development of your child’s vocabulary, their imagination and their knowledge of sentence structure and character development (without them even realising it) as well as showing them that reading can be a fantastic shared experience and something which grown-ups enjoy too.  Making sure that your child has understood the trickier words that you have read and having a chat with your child at the end of a chapter (or whenever you finish reading with them) will help your child’s understanding of stories and will in turn aid their comprehension skills.  It’s common for children not to see their parents reading and showing them that you enjoy a good book can go a long way to aiding their own enthusiasm.


Some time spent with your child browsing in the local library or in a friendly bookshop, and giving your child the opportunity to select and reject - since they won’t be inspired to read every book they pick up - books for themselves will be time well spent.  Encourage your child to read the blurb on the back cover and have a flick through a book before they make a selection – let them know it’s ok not to choose the first book they pick up; encourage them to find a book they think they will enjoy, even if that takes a little while.

Below you will find a list of books (in no particular order), which may spark the interest of reluctant 9 and 10 year olds. Many of these titles could also be enjoyed by younger pupils when shared with adults. 





  • Any of the many David Walliams books

  • The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

  • The Tom Gates series

  • Roald Dahl’s children’s books

  • The Horrible Histories Series

For those of you whose children are already enthusiastic readers, it's important to encourage reading of a wide range of texts. Adding non-fiction books, poetry, recipes, instruction manuals and magazine articles to your child's reading material will ensure that they have access to a wide range of texts. 

The Week Junior is an award-winning current affairs magazine for children aged 8–14. Filled with fascinating news and engaging information, it feeds curious young minds and helps children make sense of the world. My own children enjoyed this publication and I would highly recommend it. Click here to subscribe or to take a look! 

Here are some ideas of fiction books that will be ideal for 10 and 11 year olds to read independently or for slightly younger children to share with you:

  • A series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett

  • Boy by Roald Dahl

  • Carrie's War by Nina Bawden

  • Diary of Anne Frank

  • Dragons at Crumbling Castle and other stories by Terry Pratchett

  • Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian

  • Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

  • Holes by Louis Sacher

  • King of the Forest Clouds by Michael Morpurgo

  • Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce

  • Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

  • Percy Jackson by Rick Riordon

  • Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

  • Shadow by Michael Morpurgo

  • Skellig by David Almond

  • Small Steps by Louis Sacher

  • Stig of the Dump by Clive King

  • The Adventures of Tintin by Herge

  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

  • The Clocktower Ghost by Gene Kemp

  • The Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross

  • The Factory Made Boy by Christine Nostlinger

  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

  • The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean

  • The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

  • The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall

  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • The Sheep-pig by Dick King-Smith

  • The White Giraffe by Lauren St John

  • The Witches by Roald Dahl

  • There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sacher

  • War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

  • Wonder by RJ Palacio

  • Woof! by Allan Ahlberg

You'll find lots more recommendations in my Facebook album of 'KS2 Book Recommendations'.

Most of all, whatever you choose to read, enjoy it!

(For each book purchased using my links, I will receive a very small commission from Amazon.)