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Recommendations for high-interest books for 11yo girl reading at 4th grade level?

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The girl in question is entering 6th grade, has been diagnosed with ADHD and is possibly dyslexic. Her reading level is at best a 4th grade. She is generally not a motivated reader and can't read the one series she'd like to: Twilight. She can slog through it, but the books are just too long for her and she gives up. She is not homeschooled, but I've already given her parents information about phonics programs and suggested some other resources, including a recommendation to see to a developmental opthamologist.


What they'd like now are some suggestions for high-interest books that are manageable for her both in terms of content and length and don't seem babyish. I appreciate any recommendations you might have.

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I don't know what level this would fall into, but the "Little House" books are very engaging. They might take some time to get into, but the resources for them would help trigger lots of rabbit trails. There is a simple curriculum book on the Little House series and also a cookbook. So it could spark an interest in reading, all the while adding activity and "busy-ness", as well as a possible interest in history, cooking, crafting? I know you said that she isn't hs'ed, but I found the curriculum book recently, and it's very simple activities.


I wouldn't so much go for a book that is "at level", so much as a book that would spark a love for reading, and finding out MORE.

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I second the nonfiction and craft angle. Crafts, cooking, nonfiction books are a great source of high interest reading on lower levels. They can also order books from Remedia Publications and PCi that are high/low. I have not looked in awhile but Steck Vaughn at one time had a big collection of them that you could buy on popular topics. Some comic books are written that way but the parents may want to pre-read them since topics can be more mature.


Abridged Classics are also good. That way she can become familiar with the stories that we allude to so often in our language.


For books like Twilight, maybe they can check out the auditory version and have her read along as she listens.


I would also ask the librarians at school or at the local library. Mine have been great help with my son.

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Some of the Richard Peck books about the early 20th C might fit the bill--interesting, quirky characters, not too long or complex:


A Year Down Yonder

A Long Way from Chicago

The Teacher's Funeral

A Season of Gifts

Here Lies the Librarian


Other ideas:

Percy Jackson series

Ulysses Moore series (The Door to Time is the first story)

books by Christopher Paul Curtis (esp the Mr Chickee series)


HTH, Cinder

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Perhaps Tamora Pierce? They are a little shorter than something like Twilight, but very engaging. They also tend to be one story split up into four books which might make them less intimidating. I might also consider a subscription to Cricket or one of the other Caracus Publishing magazines for her age group.

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I have lexile levels for most of the books.


4th grade is 600-800


Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (fantasy/mythology)

740 The Lightning Thief

740 Sea of Monsters

630 Titan's Curse

590 Battle of the Labyrinth

620 The Last Olympian

This series is complete, but in the author's note at the end he said that it was the end of the "first Half-Blood series".* The whole series is available on audio and the audios are generally released the same day as the print version.* He has also published adult mysteries, but I haven't read any of them.



Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau (sci fi)

680 City of Ember

760 People of Sparks

760 Prophet of Yonwood (prequel - don't read it first)

790 Diamond of Darkhold

The series is complete and has been released on audio. http://www.jeanneduprau.com/books.shtml


Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (fantasy/sci fi)

600 Artemis Fowl

610 Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident

620 Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code

770 Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception

740 Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony

780 Artemis Fowl: Time Paradox

The whole series is available on audio and the reader is fabulous.*



Rowan by Emily Rodda (fantasy)

660 Rowan of Rin

560 Rowan and the Travelers

540 Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal

680 Rowan and the Zebak

790 Rowan and the Ice Creepers


700 Runaway Princess by Kate Coombs (medieval fantasy)

Runaway Dragon



Alex Rider series by Horowitz - written for teens, but no content problems for younger kids (spy stories)

670 Stormbreaker

610 Point Blanc

630 Skeleton Key

690 Eagle Strike

680 Scorpia

680 Ark Angel

740 Snakehead

Crocodile Tears



Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (fantasy)

700 Fablehaven

730 Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star

790 Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague

Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary



Samurai Mysteries by Hoobler (historical fiction)

740 Ghost in the Tokaido Inn

660 Demon in the Teahouse

760 In Darkness, Death

720 The Sword that Cut the Burning Grass

800 A Samurai Never Fears Death

Seven Paths to Death



Theodosia series by R.L. LaFevers (fantasy set just before WWII)

800 Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos

750 Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris

Theodosia's parents are archeologists at a museum. Most of the artifacts they bring back are cursed, but Theodosia is the only one who can see the curses and nobody believes her. She has to de-curse the objects on her own.



Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins (fantasy)

630 Gregor the Overlander

680 Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane

710 Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods

730 Gregor and the Marks of Secret

730 Gregor and the Code of Claw

While it is a good series all the way through, you should be forewarned that there is a death toll throughout the series. Characters that you have come to care about die in every book.



Emmy series by Lynne Jonell (fantasy)

780 Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat

770 Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls



books by Gail Carson Levine (fantasy)

480-770 fractured fairy tale series (published as individual titles and as bindups)

670 Ella Enchanted

570 Two Princesses of Bamarre

490 The Wish


The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas (fantasy)

680 The Magic Thief

The Magic Thief: Lost

Very fun series about a pickpocket who becomes a wizard's apprentice.



Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landry (fantasy)

760 Scepter of the Ancients (originally published as just Skulduggery Pleasant)

700 Playing with Fire


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We ran into many of the same issues with ds. Is the mother opposed to doing read-alouds with this child? I've found those to be not only bonding for us, but continues to build his interest in stories as his comprehension is well above his reading level.


For her own reading I'd suggest:


Books less than 250 pages: ds seems to get bogged down if they're much longer.

non-fiction: ds enjoys biographies, the series Who is______? that B&N sells have been great.

Short Stories: Books like Tales from Japan, Tales from India


The 39 Clues series - I have not read them, but saw them the other day. I believe they are at a 4th grade level.


Another issue for my ds is font size. I try to pick the larger fonts with lots of space between the lines. Aladdin does a nice job on their classics in regards to that.


Dear America/My name is America series: we've used some of these for history.

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How about the Sammy Keyes books by Wendelin Van Draanan? My 11yo AND my 15yo dds like it! LOL Funny mysteries. Dd 11 also recommends The Secret Apartment by Natalie Fast, the City of Ember books, The Frog Princess series by E.D. Baker, and The Name of This Book is Secret (and others) by Pseudonymous Bosch. Margaret Peterson Haddix is another author to check out.


These are high interest, well-written, fun books, especially for a child who doesn't know what she wants to read and has some motivation issues--we recommend them!

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I don't know what level this would fall into, but the "Little House" books are very engaging.




Is it too early for Nancy Drew mysteries?



(I never get the "quote" thing right! How hard can this be?!?!?!)

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