Realistic Fiction - for those kids who love real stories about real people and events!
Realistic fiction can get kids reading! I find that in general, most of the more mature children like reading realistic fiction. Sometimes the kids CAN IDENTIFY with the character's situation in life.
Many kids love reading realistic fiction stories because many times there's something in the story that they or a friend has gone through.
There are times I'll read the first page of the books out loud to the students, or I will find a book that is similar to the last book that they read, or show book trailers, etc. There are many fabulous authors that create stories about real people and events for the kids that love realistic fiction stories.
Rain Reign by Ann Martin. Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She's thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose's rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose's obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different – not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father. When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. Rose's father shouldn't have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search.
Hollis Woods by Patricia Giff. Hollis Woods is the place where a baby was abandoned, is the baby’s name, is now a twelve-year-old girl, who can't even remember all of the foster homes she's been in over the years. When Hollis is sent to Josie, an elderly artist who is quirky and affectionate, she wants to stay, but Josie is growing more forgetful every day. If Social Services finds out, they’ll take Hollis away and move Josie into a home. Well, Hollis Woods won’t let anyone separate them. She’s escaped the system before; this time, she’s taking Josie with her. Still, even as she plans her future with Josie, Hollis dreams of the past summer with the Regans, fixing each special moment of her days with them in pictures she’ll never forget.
As Simple as it Seems by Sarah Weeks. Verbena Colter knows she’s bad news. Trouble from the get-go. How could she not be, with parents like hers? Her mother practically pickled her before she was even born, leaving Verbie to struggle with the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. And her father was just plain mean. Verbie wishes she could be somebody, anybody other than who she is. Enter Pooch, a flatlander boy visiting for the summer. When Pooch and his mom rent the house next door, Verbie takes the opportunity to be someone else entirely. And what starts out as a game leads Verbie into a surprising and heartwarming journey of self-discovery.
Loser by Jerry Spinelli. Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his hand with all the wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and falls down with laughter over a word like "Jabip." Other kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it. He doesn't know he's not like everyone else. And one winter night, Zinkoff's differences show that any name can someday become "hero."
The Million Dollar Shot by Dan Gutman. Eddie enters a contest by writing a poem about Finkle's Chocolate Candy. He's surprised and thrilled when his poem wins! Now Eddie Ball has the chance of a lifetime: to win a million dollars by sinking a foul shot during halftime at the NBA finals, no less. But someone really wants Eddie to shoot an air ball on the big day and will do anything to sabotage the million dollar shot.
Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford. When Newt Newman's football-star brother, Chris, is knocked into a coma during the biggest game of the season, Newt's two best friends keep his mind off of the accident by helping him create the ultimate Halloween costume: Captain Nobody. Newt feels strong and confident in his new getup, so he keeps wearing it after Halloween is over. Soon Newt assumes the role of a hero in a string of exploits that include foiling a robbery and saving a planeload of passengers. But will Captain Nobody be able to save the one person he cares about most?
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She's had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.
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. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’ s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first.Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal.
Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea. It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school. Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything—and everyone.
How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor. Ever since her father left and they were evicted from their apartment, her family has been living in their car. With her mama juggling two jobs and trying to make enough money to find a place to live, Georgina is stuck looking after her younger brother, Toby. And she has her heart set on improving their situation. When Georgina spots a missing-dog poster with a reward of five hundred dollars, the solution to all her problems suddenly seems within reach. All she has to do is "borrow" the right dog and its owners are sure to offer a reward. What happens next is the last thing she expected.
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.
The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O'Connor. Owen wishes his family hadn't moved to his grandfather's house after his dad lost his job. His grandfather's live-in nurse ruins all the fun. And then there's Viola, the neighbor, who can't ever mind her own business. She even thinks Owen should put his freshly captured bullfrog back into the pond. Then late one night, Owen hears a curious noise when the train passes by his grandfather's house. Something mysterious and wonderful has fallen off the train. When Owen finally discovers what it is, he realizes he just might need a know-it-all after all. But can he trust Viola keep the most fantastic secret to ever tumble into Carter, Georgia?
My Life as a Book by Janet and Jake Tashjian. Summer's finally here, and Derek Fallon is looking forward to pelting the UPS truck with water balloons, climbing onto the garage roof, and conducting silly investigations. But when his parents decide to send him to Learning Camp, Derek's dreams of fun come to an end. Ever since he's been labeled a "reluctant reader," his mom has pushed him to read "real" books-something other than his beloved Calvin & Hobbes. As Derek forges unexpected friendships and uncovers a family secret involving himself (in diapers! no less), he realizes that adventures and surprises are around the corner, complete with curve balls.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African-American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
No Talking by Andrew Clements. It’s boys vs. girls when the noisiest, most talkative, and most competitive fifth graders in history challenge one another to see who can go longer without talking. Teachers and school administrators are in an uproar until an innovative teacher sees how the kids’ experiment can provide a terrific and unique lesson in communication. In No Talking, Andrew Clements portrays a battle of wills between some spunky kids and a creative teacher with the perfect pitch for elementary school life that made Frindle an instant classic. This is a book that can get kids reading!
Realistic fiction can get kid reading! If your child's love of reading hasn't kicked in yet, remember that you sometimes just have to give it time - be patient as there are lots of resources available to you. What works for one child may not work for another one, and sometimes when you try a product or technique and it doesn't work, the timing could have been off - try it again!
Here are a few of my other favorite web pages and posts:
- Funny Books Can Get Kids Reading!
- Graphic Novels – all genres of graphic novels can get kids to read!
- Scary Books Can Get Kids to Read More!
- 10 Tips to Improve Your Child’s Reading Comprehension
- Memory Techniques to Help Your Child Remember Information
- How to Help a Reluctant Reader
- Super Fun Ideas For Reading Practice
- Is Your Child a Struggling Reader?
- Help Your Child Get Ready For Kindergarten
- Books for Boys Who Hate to Read and Tips to Get Them Reading Today!
- How to Help Your Struggling Reader at Home
- Help your Child Find the Right Book!
- 25 Ideas for Reading Skills Practice at Home!
- How to Help Your Child Get Ready to Read
- Is Your Child a Reluctant Reader?
- Motivate your Child to Read More – a Reading Challenge!
For more genre suggestions and a reading challenge, click here. If there's a specific book or other reading product you're looking for, a type of book you're looking for or a question about reading, just leave a comment or question below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!