I have a struggling, reluctant reader. He seems to have better things to do with his time than read a book. When it’s time to sit down and read a book, he will do things like
- Announce it is time to have "Guinea pig time"
- find one of our cats to go "love" (Read: maul.)
- build with Legos
- find my old Game Boy Advance and play a round of some random old game and ask me for tips.
- Anything he can do to avoid reading a book. Of any kind.
So, thus far, my motto has been "If he’ll read it, I don’t care." And we have had very, very little luck picking a book that will keep him interested long enough to actually work on reading skills past looking at the pictures. A few months ago, I was at a book fair and came across a book that I had heard about and never really dug into. This was for no other reason than I had been reading other things. I found this:
I figured a cat that looked like one of ours, doing insane things would at least get the Shrimp’s attention.
WARNING TO ALL WHO HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK BEFORE please pre read this book, as you will not be able to share this book with your child without laughing hysterically .
The initial Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel is what seems like a simple ABC book where Bad Kitty runs out of her favorite foods and her owners try to feed her healthy foods. That goes nowhere well, as Bad Kitty does things that are just so naughty-like tip over her litter box in protest. This book had us in giggles until it hurt. Isaac tried to read some of the words himself without prompting, which was new to us! So, since this book was such a huge hit, I figured I’d try to find more in the same vein. Whoah. Wait. There are MORE in the Bad Kitty series? Wait. They are CHAPTER BOOKS?! Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! Our next stop was at the library to test these out. We found this:
Isaac immediately asked to check it out and if we could read it when we got home. We read it through in a matter of two days. It was one of the most reading heavy weeks we’ve had since the real reading instruction started!
The book is picture heavy, yet still full of words that are decodable. The chapters are short, and have produced a serious sense of accomplishment with Isaac, because he can read two chapters in a night. Then, there’s the fun factor. The pictures and the type are just a real joy to read. They engaged Isaac quickly and kept him going through the book. He loved the search for Kitty to get her into the tub.
These books are my favorite for reluctant readers. The vocabulary is not intimidating, the pictures help when the reader is a bit lost in the emotion of the story, and Bad Kitty-she’s just funny. It is the only series of books that have us running back to the library for more.
Now, please excuse me. I need to go listen to Isaac read Bad Kitty Vs. Uncle Murray and try not to spit soda out of my nose and ruin the library book.
Check out the video trailer here for the series. Classic!
Laura is a mom, teacher, knitter and a former Disneyland (ANAHEIM!!) cast member with a penchant for Star Wars. She always wanted to be a Jedi when she grew up. Come visit her at My 3 Ring Circus of a Life, where she details all of the stuff she can’t make up.