Books for Struggling Readers in Second and Third Grade

It’s time for another book list. I am trying hard to take away some of the frustration parents of low readers face. I’ve been there. Trust me – I’m here to help. My son has a learning disability and trouble reading. He was diagnosed with dyslexia in second grade.

First – check out the other posts I have listed under Struggling Readers. One in particular has tips on making reading sessions less painful.

Second - Bookmark my website. I have a lot of lists posted and will continue to add more.

Third - Stay positive. You can do this!! The best thing you can do to help your child or student with a reading difficulty is to encourage them, be there for them, and never give up.

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Here is a list of books for kids in lower grades that are at doable reading levels. I have given the Lexile score of each book. This is similar to a reading level. You can find out more about Lexile scores HERE.

I will suggest right off the bat to purchase a few books and allow your child to reread them many times over. This will build reading success. Checking books out from the library is fine, but I feel owning four or five books that the child can return to will do wonders for their confidence. Oh, you say your child’s teacher wants them to read different books? A variety of books? Talk to that teacher. He or she wants your child to succeed. That is the bottom line.

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Hi Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold

Hi Fly Guy

My son really enjoyed these books and built on his skills by reading these over and over. They are exciting and fun. The Lexile measurements range from 170L to 450L. To over simplify things, the lower the Lexile score the easier a book is to read. There are nine books in this series.

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Tedd Arnold also wrote a series about a monster named Huggly. These are short, cute books that all fall under 290L. This range should work well with kids with reading difficulties.


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I Dare You by Kathleen Keeler

i dare you

Lexile measure = 90L

Not too scary stories for young readers.

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Silly Milly by Wendy Cheyette Lewison

silly milly

Lexile score = 90L

That one looks like fun.

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John Peterson has written a series titled – The Littles. My son enjoyed reading some of these as well. Unfortunately the reading levels are all over the map. Some go as high as 740L. (Let’s not frustrate our little readers, shall we?) Here are a few at lower Lexile ranges that will work well with first, second and third year students:

the littles

The Little Make a Friend - 180L

(Checked the used books section of Amazon or your local book store.)

The Little and the Summer Storm - 240L

The Littles and the Scary Halloween - 240L

The Littles Do Their Homework - 180L

The Littles Go Around the World - 240L

The Little Get Trapped - 160L

The Littles and the Big Blizzard - 170L

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Alien & Possum: Friends No Matter What

alien and possum

Lexile score = 160L

** Remember, do not assume books in the same series or by the same author will be at a similar reading level. You can always look up the Lexile measure of books HERE.

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Phonics Comics: The Misfits

phonic comics

Lexile measure = GN160L

There are many books titled ‘Phonics Comics’. I have not tried these with my son. They are graphic novels. I feel the pictures give young, struggling readers additional clues and help when sounding out words. You can read more of my thoughts and experiences with Graphic novels HERE.

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Alison’s Wings

alison's wings

How about a chapter book? No? Well if the Lexile score is 190L your little reader can handle it – with your help. Just think of the confidence boost he or she will get from reading a longer book!

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Need more? Try these series and pick a few that your child finds interesting.

All Aboard Reading – Level 2 There are over 130 titles to pick from.

I Can Readthese come in levels 1 through 3. ** The search results state there are over 6000 books to pick from. Really? Wow.

Step Into Reading Level 2 – There are three levels and over one thousand titles to pick from.

Hello Reader – Many, many titles (600+) and levels to pick from.

Scholastic Reader – Level 2 – You can adjust the level as well. One example is Supertwins Meet the Dangerous Dino-Robots which has a reading level of 120L.

super twins


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Once your young reader has gained some confidence and skill you can try these books that are a step up:

Nate the Great Series

nate the great

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Girls will enjoy the Junie B. Jones books. These range from 250L up into the 400s. So best to wait until the reader has mastered some skills. OR – read them together.

junie b jones

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That should be enough to get you by. Buy a small pile of them, get the rest from the library. I bet you’ll find the ones you own will soon be favorites of your child. Once he or she knows the story you can build on reading skills involving voice inflection, pausing for punctuation, and speed.

If I find more good ones I will add them.

~ Jenna

I hope you find this blog post helpful. Please consider supporting my blogging time and effort by doing any of your regular Amazon shopping through one of my links.

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5 Responses to Books for Struggling Readers in Second and Third Grade

  1. avatar Bonnie Kaye says:

    Hi Jenna, I thought this was a very interesting post and I don’t have any struggling readers in my house anymore. I just wanted you to know I am going to share this on my Facebook so some of my friends with young readers can see the information you’ve put together. I hope there is a success story to tell after posting this. I’m so happy I found your blog, FB and Twitter posts. Bonnie

    • avatar JAScribbles says:

      Thanks for visiting Bonnie and for spreading the word about my post. I’m trying to remove some of frustration factors in parent’s lives. Ha ha. It’s amazing how one book series can start at one reading level, then shoot up four or five notches, then go back down, etc. Kids will assume “I’m dumb, I can’t do this.” which isn’t the problem. The books are too difficult.

      Struggling readers need fun, positive reading sessions. I’m just trying to help accomplish that.

      ~ Jenna

  2. avatar Keith says:

    I am a tutor for a second grader. He spent two years in Tailand and his family speaks Tai too much. He needs help reading and writing. I told his mom that he needs to read everyday of the week and spend tons of time in speaking English. I am thinking of a list of books his mom can get for him.

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