Graphic Novels for Struggling Readers – 4th, 5th, and 6th Grade

It is often difficult to find books for struggling readers. As your child grows older, the choices are slimmer. Many students do not want to pick up a second grade reading level book when they are in sixth grade. I don’t blame them.

My son has dyslexia. We’ve been down this road. You can read a little about our discovery of his reading issues HERE.

Are you having rough reading sessions with your son or daughter? Read my tips on Encouraging Struggling Readers HERE.

Reading has always been a challenge for him. Finding books he wanted to read was even tougher. One day he brought home a graphic novel and a small spark was lit. He sat through his allotted reading time without struggling! (Well, with less fuss than before.)

Are graphic novels good for struggling readers?

Yes they are. People may think this is a cop out. They are too easy and reluctant readers just pick them up because there are less words on a page. Well… yes and no. Here are my thoughts.

First of all – Fewer words per page means less visual distraction for the eyes. Many times the text of a graphic novel is in a box or placed closely to a picture. The font might even be different for each section of text. The eye can group the words. Anything to help readers who struggle with eye issues is fantastic.

Second – Graphic novels provide many visual clues for the text provided. Each page, section, or box has a corresponding drawing. The reader can look at the image and get a better idea what the text is. For example, perhaps the author writes the word cheeseburger with a picture of the food item right next to it. The likelihood of the reader sounding out that word on their own is higher. This builds self-esteem and reading confidence.

Struggling readers need successful and pain-free reading sessions!

Finally – Graphic novels are fun. The topics are often action packed, silly, and highly imaginative. Older readers don’t want to pick up a book about a Magic Tree house or Sponge Bob. They want to read about superheroes and space aliens. Struggling readers will almost always approach a reading session with dread. Give them a little boost of silliness to make it less painful.

Here are some graphic novels that may appeal to struggling readers. When possible, I’ve added the Lexile Measurement to the title. If you are unaware what this is, please read the opening portion of THIS POST. I was able to get my son’s score after he took the MAP test. In my area they take this twice a year.

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One of my favorite authors is Dav Pikley. He has written a series about a super hero called Captian Underpants.

The Lexile scores of these books fall between 640L and 850L. If your reader falls below this level give them a try anyway. Based on the reasons I gave above I feel struggling readers can handle a higher Lexile score.

“Faster than a speeding waistband… more powerful than boxer shorts…” It’s Captain Underpants!

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The Girl Who Owned a City

girl who owned a city graphic novel

Don’t let the gun on the cover scare you off. This would be a really good graphic novel for boys 12 and older. Maybe 13 and older. Parents can decide. The reading level for this one is GN420L.

My son read the full version of this title in seventh grade and wouldn’t stop talking about it. (around 200 pages with a Lexile of 660L) He’d come home from school and just launch into what he’d read that day. Yes, he is a reluctant reader. Whoa!

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. This was the first book my picked up and wanted to read. You have no idea what feelings of joy went through me. To see my learning disabled child suddenly, after years of loathing books, want to read.

The Lexile score of these books is a bit high – 900L to 1000L. Try one and see how it works with your son or daughter.

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Quarterback Scramble by Terrell Brandon

Lexile Score GN350L

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Spokes on the Water

Lexile score = GN350L

This is book two in a series. Not sure how related they are. Book one is Wrath of the Weather Wizardwhich has a Lexile score of 710L.

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Artemis Fowl – The Graphic Novel

Artemis fowl graphic novel

This one looks good. I don’t know the Lexile for this one but the description on Amazon says grade level 5 and up.

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Side note: I’ve selected graphic novels that are appropriate for younger readers. Caution. There are many graphic novels out there that are not for young eyes. Older teens, people in their twenties, etc. The content is sexy, racy, etc. Read carefully before buying.

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Swamp Sting

Lexile score = GN350L

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Caught in a Pickle

Lexile score = GN230L

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Hot Iron: The Adventures of a Civil War Powder Boy

Lexile score = GN600L

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The Dragon Players (Knights Of The Lunch Table)

Lexile score = GN220L

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Stormbreaker – Alex Rider Graphic Novel

stormbreaker graphic novel

There is an entire book series by this author. I can only see one graphic novel so far. Again, I don’t have a lexile but amazon states age 9 and up or grade 4 and older. (Why don’t publishers add a Flesch-Kincaid or Lexile score? Grrr)

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The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook

Lexile Score = GN470L

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Mystery at Manzanar: A WWII Internment Camp Story (Graphic Flash)

Lexile score = GN500L

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Atalanta: The Race Against Destiny, A Greek Myth (Graphic Myths and Legends; Graphic Universe)

Lexile score = GN530L

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Sunjata: Warrior King of Mali

Lexile score = GN580L

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Cowboys and Aliens

Lexile = GN470L

cowboys and aliens graphic novel

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The Sign of the Black Rock

Lexile = GN510L

sign of the black rock

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Crash Course

Lexile = GN540L

star wars graphic novel

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That’s it for now. I will add more at another time.

Happy reading!

~ Jenna

Want to know more? These posts may be of interest to you:

Books for Struggling Readers in Middle or High School – Boys

Tools for Struggling Readers and Writers

Are Kindles Good for Struggling Readers

Recognizing Reading Issues at Home

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7 Responses to Graphic Novels for Struggling Readers – 4th, 5th, and 6th Grade

  1. Pingback: Books for Struggling Readers in Middle or High School – Boys | Jenna Scribbles

  2. Pingback: WARNING: Graphic Content | Reading Allowed

  3. Pingback: Encouraging Struggling Readers - A Mom's Perspective | Books | Jenna Scribbles

  4. avatar Janice says:

    My boys all enjoyed the TinTin books by Herge as well as the graphic novels by Asterix and Obelix. I’m not sure about the Lexile score, but these drew them in at varying ages and reading levels. The content is lively and fun, and not too silly for older readers.

    • avatar JAScribbles says:

      Hi Janice – I just looked those titles up on Amazon and there are lots available and all for a great price too. I went over to to check on the reading levels but they are not listed on that site. Perhaps the books are too old. ?? Another good one would be the Charlie Brown books or Calvin and Hobbes. :-) More along comic book or comic strips – but – the goal is reading, right?

      Thanks for stopping.

      ~ Jenna

  5. Pingback: Books for Struggling Readers Middle and High School | Struggling Readers | Jenna Scribbles

  6. Pingback: Books for Struggling Readers in Second and Third Grade | Struggling Readers | Jenna Scribbles

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