‘Top 40’ children’s books for struggling and reluctant readers

Beanstalk – a literacy charity which recruits, trains and places volunteers in primary schools across England to provide one-to-one support to children who have fallen behind with reading – has revealed 40 children’s books that will be used by the charity’s volunteers to kick-start reading engagement for the children they support. Press statement

Beanstalk’s ‘Top 40’ has been handpicked by children’s literacy experts including Beanstalk staff, trained reading helpers and literacy consultant Marilyn Brocklehurst – founder of The Norfolk Children’s Book Centre. The selection process involved careful consideration of the types of books Beanstalk-supported children would find fun and motivational. The books will be provided to Beanstalk schools as part of a starter pack resource which will be used by the charity’s trained volunteers placed in that setting.

Ginny Lunn, Chief Executive Officer of Beanstalk, said: “As part of Beanstalk’s vision to help more children become confident and able readers we need to ensure that our volunteers have immediate access to age-appropriate and expertly chosen books as well as ongoing training and support to use those resources with children in the best possible ways.

“We also hope that by revealing Beanstalk’s ‘Top 40 ‘, it might help anyone looking for inspiration for a child they know – from parents to grandparents, reading helpers to teaching staff. And of course we will continue to develop and adapt this resource as the needs of our reading helpers and children changes”

Beanstalk’s ‘Top 40’ has been organised into four age-appropriate sets of 10 books aimed at Lower Key Stage 1 (ages 5-6), Upper KS1 (ages 6-7) LKS1 (ages 7-8/9) and UKS2 (ages 9-11). 

The criteria used to choose the books included:

  • The various levels a particular child could be reading at based on which age the pack is targeted at.

  • Books that could be read and ‘played’ with in multiple ways.

  • Books from across a broad range of genres, (picture books, rhyme, tongue twisters, jokes, poetry, discussion texts, chapter books, wordless, non-fiction).

  • Books that engage a variety of children, regardless of interests, age, gender, ethnicity.

  • Books that are brilliant to read aloud by both adults and children.

  • Books that support a child’s visual literacy.

To view Beanstalk’s ‘Top 40’ books 

Read more  ‘Top 40’ children’s books for struggling and reluctant readers

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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  1. Judith Wilson

    I am thrilled to see Jill Murphy’s “Peace At Last” in the top 40! We enjoyed reading this wonderful book to and with both our boys thirty years ago and we are enjoying it all over again now with our grandson! It’s a pity they didn’t include “But No Elephants” by Jerry Smath…every bit as good!

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