High-Interest Books for Struggling High-School Readers

We had a request from one of our many 7th Sisters for suggestions for high-interest books for struggling high school readers.

High-Interest Books for Struggling High School Readers. Reading suggestions by teens, their moms and homeschool graduates who remember the books that inspired them to read.

High-Interest Books for Struggling High-School Readers

Know anyone with homeschool high schoolers who are struggling readers? The several of the six of us 7Sisters certainly did. (BTW: Who’s the 7th Sister? YOU are!)

It is tough being a teen who struggles with dyslexia or other issues that slow the reading process down. Having reading difficulties can really shake a teen’s confidence and sometimes trigger arguments or resistance. Here are some tips:

Make sure your homeschool high schoolers understand that reading difficulties DO NOT:

But the truth is, at high school level, whether they struggle or not, homeschool high schoolers must read. Each one must have a booklist that shows that they have been reading.

(Check out this post: How many books should my teen read? to know how many and how to adapt the number to your teens’ ages and abilities.)

Since our teens need a booklist for Language Arts credit, we asked our teens who struggled in reading, their moms and homeschool graduates who remember the books that inspired them to read.

BTW- For teens who don’t like to read, here are some tips to help.

We compiled them into this high-interest books for struggling high-school readers list.

Let’s start with format. The beauty of homeschooling is that your teens can make that booklist happen in a way that is right for each individual.

Books for the booklist can include:

  • At least some books of the Bible (get a readable version for this project or audio)
  • Audiobooks
    • Teens who have reading struggles can often listen at a higher level than they can read, so they can listen to a longer, more complex story.
  • Family read-alouds
    • Meanwhile my family has never outgrown read-alouds because we sometimes read to each other at gatherings. Some of my kids had read-alouds in their college dorm rooms.
  • Graphic novels
    • The illustrations often help with the attention and comprehension process. We have several suggestions from high schoolers in this post.
  • Simple reading
    • Reading books that are at their level, whether that level is grade level or not
  • Remedial books in workbook form
    • We like (but are not affiliates of) Edcon’s Classics series
      • Edcon’s book levels refer to their own process, not grade level. Their Level 1 is not Grade 1.
  • Abridged classics
  • 7Sisters has a popular series that teaches great literature themes by studying great movies: Cinema Studies for Literature Learning.

    • Each of the movies, if done with the study guide can count as a book. (Of course, not ALL books can be recorded this way but these 15 will certainly do!)
    • Our friend, Ticia, has a post with more movie ideas.
  • Sometimes you just have to gamify the process. Why not make the booklist a reading challenge program? Here’s our friend, Marcy’s post on how that worked for her teen.

Here is a post with more information on creative book formats.

Note: Some supervising organizations do not like to count books that are not in actual bound-book format. While we do not agree with that, we realize we do not set the rules for anyone but our own homeschool high schoolers. If you run up against an obstacle like that, choose bound-books that are the simplest, shortest and highest-interest for your teens.

There's not one right way to love books! Even struggling readers can find something to like.

Now, here’s the list of high-interest books for struggling high-school readers

Likewise, these are suggested by teens who are struggling readers, their moms and homeschool graduates who remember the books that helped them learn to love reading.

  • Various authors

    • High Noon Books (high interest, low reading level chapter books. We are not affiliates.)
    • Books by Sigmund Brouwer (prolific Christian author. Kym’s struggling readers LOVED his Lightning on Ice sports series for teens. Again, we are not affiliates.)
    • Gary Paulsen novels such as Hatchet
    • Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series
    • Meg Cabot books
    • How to Train Your Dragon series (teens recommend the David Tennant audio version)
    • How to Argue with a Cat
  • Graphic novels

  • Myth-Fantasy novels

  • Newbery Award Winners

    • Holes
    • Lincoln, A Photobiography
  • Biographies

    • God’s Smuggler
    • Heroes of History (Bengebooks.com. We are not affiliates, but our kids have loved the series.)

Lastly, want some more information on reading for struggling readers? Check out our friends at SPED Homeschool.

However, what books would your struggling readers add to this list?

Just like there is no one right way to homeschool, there are numerous approaches for handling literature in high school. 

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

4 Replies to “High-Interest Books for Struggling High-School Readers”

  1. Hi Mindy,

    Good question! I totally agree with you that she should be able to read books that are below her “level” for “just reading”. The point it to read and hopefully enjoy it. Let us know what she finds are her favorites so we can add them to the list!

  2. I have a struggling reader who is a Freshman. I am having her do some of Your Cinema Studies for Literature this year so that she can get the analyzation, theming etc.. in that is required however I know she also needs to actually read some books as wel,l as stated in this post. My question is since she is a struggling reader is it okay for her to read books that are not necessarily at the Freshman year level of reading? As long as she is doing the Cinema Lit studies to help her get through some of the books (planning to do 5) is it okay that the books that she is just “reading” and not analyzing are more for enjoyment? I am planning to have her reading books for enjoyment while we are doing the Cinema Lit studies…. Hoping to get though approx 10 books plus 5 from the Cinema Lit Curriculum. This would be my plan for her throughout the rest of Highschool as well however I will be adding to the number of books depending on the grade.

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