Increasing Your Child’s Motivation to Read 

At the Phoenix Academy, we know the power of a good book! According to What Kids are Reading: And How They Grow, if your child spends just fifteen minutes reading a day between 1st and 12th grade, they’ll have read five million words by graduation – 3.5 million words more than those children who don’t. 

But how can you get your child to read at home? It all starts with boosting their reading motivation. Here are a few easy ways you can help encourage your child to pick up a book (including a list of books treasured by other Phoenix Academy students and teachers below): 

Read Aloud to Your Child

One way to boost your child’s motivation to read on their own is to read aloud to them – even when they are in middle school! (According to a Reading Research Quarterly article, more than half of middle schoolers say listening to their teacher read aloud is one of their favorite reading activities.)If you display enthusiasm and excitement about your reading time, your child may start to develop that excitement, as well. 

Encourage Your Child to Bring Books Along 

Headed to the doctor’s office? Driving to grandma’s house? Encourage your child to bring a book along! Keeping a book in close proximity means there are more opportunities for your child to pick it up and start reading. 

Put the “Fun” in Reading 

Sometimes, parents make reading a “punishment,” but this correlates reading with negativity. Instead, generate positive feelings about reading by making it fun – schedule an outing to the library, provide your child with a beanbag “reading chair,” or treat your child to a movie based on the book they just finished. 

Expose Your Child to a Variety of Texts and Genres

It’s possible your child just hasn’t found an author or book genre they jive with yet. Encourage your child to explore new texts so they can find a book they love. To help you with this, we’ve compiled a list of books that are loved by Phoenix Academy parents and students alike! 

Books Recommended by Phoenix Academy Parents & Students

*Please use your own discretion when helping your child pick out books to ensure they are content, age and reading level appropriate. 

Babysitter’s Club series by Ann M. Martin 

Join Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, Dawn, and Mallory on their baby-sitting adventures! No matter what comes up — cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbors, prank calls — you can count on the BSC to save the day.

Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey 

Fourth graders George Beard and Harold Hutchins are a couple of class clowns. The only thing they enjoy more than playing practical jokes is creating their own comic books. And together they’ve created the greatest superhero in the history of their elementary school: Captain Underpants! His true identity is SO secret, even HE doesn’t know who he is!

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White 

Since its publication in 1952, Charlotte’s Web has become one of America’s best-loved children’s books. For fifty years, this timeless story of the pig named Wilbur and the wise spider named Charlotte who saved him has continued to warm the hearts of readers everywhere.

You’re Invited to a Creepover series by P. J. Night 

Go to sleep…if you dare, because you’re invited to the first four Creepovers! From a jealous ghost and the mysterious new neighbors to disappearing friends and a haunted play, P. J. Night’s You’re Invited to a Creepover books deliver pages and pages of frights…and fun!

Cupcake Diaries series by Coco Simon 

Middle school can be hard…some days you need a cupcake. Join Katie, Mia, Emma, and Alexis as they form the Cupcake Club—and fast friendships—and navigate the trials and tribulations of middle school in these sweet stories.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney 

Sixth grader Greg Heffley doesn’t understand his annoying younger brother, obnoxious older one, or well-meaning parents. But he knows enough to record his daily thoughts in a manly journal—not some girly diary. In a unique novel brimming with laugh-out-loud moments, Greg chronicles his first turbulent year of middle school.

Dogman series by Dav Pilkey 

George and Harold have created a new breed of justice. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound digs into deception, claws after crooks, rolls over robbers, and scampers after squirrels. Will he be able to resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?

Escape by K. R. Alexander 

WESTWORLD meets CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY meets JURASSIC PARK, as kids win a chance to enter the place of their dreams — and find that it quickly turns into a nightmare.

Frizzy by Claribel Ortega and Rose Bousamra

New York Times-bestselling author Claribel A. Ortega and star debut artist Rose Bousamra’s Frizzy is about Marlene, a young Dominican girl whose greatest enemy is the hair salon! Through her struggles and triumphs, this heartwarming and gorgeous middle-grade graphic novel shows the radical power of accepting yourself as you are, frizzy curls and all.

Goosebumps series by R. L. Stine 

Have you got Goosebumps yet? If not, you soon will! This creep collection will thrill you, frighten you, and keep you on the edge of your seat. Inside you’ll find ten tales of slimy monsters, horrifying mummies, malicious lawn gnomes, and of course, Slappy – the scariest ventriloquist dummy you will ever meet!

Graphic Novels 

Guinness World Records book

This British reference book is published annually, listing world records both of human achievements and the extremes of the natural world.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling 

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis 

The New York Times bestselling I SURVIVED series tells stories of young people and their resilience and strength in the midst of unimaginable disasters. 

Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park 

Meet the World’s Funniest Kindergartner–Junie B. Jones! Remember when it was scary to go to school? In the first Junie B. Jones book, it’s Junie B.’s first day and she doesn’t know anything. She’s so scared of the school bus and the meanies on it that when it’s time to go home, she doesn’t.

Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo 

Foiling a robber, driving a car, squeezing into a tutu—is there anything the porcine wonder won’t do in her single-minded pursuit of treats, buttered toast, or just a rollicking fun time? And who knows what other adventures twinkle in her mischievous eyes?

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene 

Nancy Drew is a fictional teenage amateur detective in an extended series of mystery books written by Carolyn Keene. Nancy Drew’s intelligence, courage, and independence made her a popular role model for many generations of young readers. 

Ramona series by Beverly Cleary 

Meet Ramona. She lives on Klickitat Street with her mother, father, and big sister, Beezus. She’s not afraid of anything and is always up to something. And that’s just the beginning….

Ripley’s Believe It or Not books 

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! transports readers of all ages to a world beyond imagination – where truth is stranger than fiction!Every turn of the page reveals all-new and all-true stories from around the globe – an artist who paints with cow poop, a disappearing waterfall, whales that hunt with bubbles, and hundreds more. 

Simple Words Series 

Young dyslexics often have limited reading vocabulary but high intellectual capacity. Therefore, they enjoy high-level context, but might have only low-level reading skills.

We believe the right book gives dyslexic child the opportunity to experience a love of reading and enjoy a chapter book, without tears. Inspired by the beginner phonics elements in the Orton Gillingham, the simple words series consists of early decodable and decodable chapter books. Learn more here:

Smile, Sisters, and Guts by Raina Telgemeier 

Raina Telgemeier’s bestselling, award-winning graphic novels about family, friendship, and the highs and lows of growing up! 

Sunny series by Jennifer L. Holm 

With her sunny-side-up attitude, Sunny can face any challenge from new schools to fresh starts. 

Sweet Valley High and Sweet Valley Twins series by Francine Pascal 

The books chronicle the lives of identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, who live in the fictional Sweet Valley, California, a suburb near Los Angeles. The twins and their friends attend Sweet Valley High.

The Complete Ada Lace Adventures by Emily Calandrelli 

Ada Lace loves science, math, and technology. And when she moves into a new neighborhood, she uses her smarts and gadgets to fix problems and stop crime. Best of all, Ada’s very first investigation leads her to a new friend!

With help from her best friend, Nina, Ada finds a missing dog, learns to appreciate art, cracks an extraterrestrial code, and more!

The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary 

A reckless young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy in room 215 of the Mountain View Inn and discovers the joys of motorcycling.

The Story of My Life: Helen Keller by Hellen Keller 

As a 2-year-old, Helen Keller was stricken with a mysterious illness which left her blind and deaf. It wasn’t until she was 6, and a teacher, Miss Sullivan, entered her life, that she was able to communicate with her family. In her unforgettable autobiography, Helen shares her struggle with, and ultimate triumph over, her disability. 

Towervale by Patrick Carman 

Towervale is a book and a video game at the same time, and a sprawling fantasy series for ages 9-12. Towervale is organized in seven sections that are not in order. Each section ends with a password you must enter in the Towervale game, unlocking a level. When the level is cleared, the next page to turn to in the book is revealed. But there’s a catch: if you didn’t read the previous section of the book, you’ll have no idea how to clear the level in the game (free game access included with each book). Your adventure begins in the Caves of Iron and takes you through three realms where you’ll encounter a world beyond your imagination and a villain of unparalleled danger.

Wayside School series by Louis Sachar  

Is your school just a little too…NORMAL? Maybe you should go to Wayside School. You’ll meet Bebe, the fastest draw in art class; John, who only reads upside down; and Sammy, the new kid—he’s a real rat. Come on! Hurry up! If you’re late for class, Mrs. Gorf will turn you into an app…Oops. Sorry about that.

Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland 

A thrilling new series soars above the competition and redefines middle-grade fantasy fiction for a new generation! The seven dragon tribes have been at war for generations, locked in an endless battle over an ancient, lost treasure. A secret movement called the Talons of Peace is determined to bring an end to the fighting, with the help of a prophecy – a foretelling that calls for great sacrifice. 

Wish by Barbara O’Connor 

From award-winning author Barbara O’Connor comes a middle-grade novel about a girl who, with the help of a true-blue friend, a big-hearted aunt and uncle, and the dog of her dreams, unexpectedly learns the true meaning of family in the least likely of places.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio 

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Beginning from Auggie’s point of view and expanding to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others, the perspectives converge to form a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. 

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