Sporty Books to Motivate Reluctant Readers

How to get your child interested in reading…

There are all sorts of reading activities for children that adults can use to get the most out of books; for example, outdoor storytelling activities. However, some reluctant readers may struggle to find the right book for them in the first place.

Find a book which engages with their own interests. You can’t expect young readers to jump in at the deep end when they’re not used to finding books they like. For those of you with little sport-lovers in your lives, we’ve put together a list of great sports books for encouraging children to read.

How to Motivate & Inspire Reluctant Readers with Sport Books for Children

Football Books and Other Sporty Stories for Kids

We’ve ordered these books in terms of difficulty and maturity, rather than specifying age groups.

Top tip: Don’t make children feel bad about the ‘age range’ of their book. It’s better that they read what they enjoy and get on well with, rather than trying to keep up with set reading stages.

 

Classic Characters

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Mr. Men: The Big Match Published by Egmont UK Ltd. ISBN: 9781405290876 Spot Plays Football Published by Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN: 9780241327050 | How to Motivate & Inspire Reluctant Readers with Sport Books for Children

Classic characters from children’s books have been encouraging reading for decades. Since we know that book series such as Eric Hill’s Spot the Dog and Roger Hargreaves’s Mr. Men are hugely popular with children, we can be sure that their football editions will go down well too!

Stadia Sports Recommendation:

Mr. Men: The Big Match Published by Egmont UK Ltd. ISBN: 9781405290876

Spot Plays Football Published by Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN: 9780241327050

 

Introducing Independence

Help them get into the swing of things…

The key to encouraging children to read is to find their niche! | How to Motivate & Inspire Reluctant Readers with Sport Books for Children

As we’ve already suggested, sometimes the key to encouraging children to read is to find their niche! Perhaps that comes in the form of pink spiders with a passion for football? Another way to do this is to present it as a project; for example, an activity book. Either way, establishing these reading activities as something specifically for them is the perfect way to help children be independent. It may be the first step in a long relationship with books!

Stadia Sports Recommendation:

i-SPY Football grounds: What Can You Spot? Published by HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN: 9780008182878

Spinderella from the author of The Gruffalo. Published by Egmont UK Ltd. ISBN: 9781405282024

 

The Magic Touch

New worlds of adventure.

Frankie's Magic Football Published by Hachette Children’s Group ISBN: 9781405526555 | How to Motivate & Inspire Reluctant Readers with Sport Books for Children

Do you know someone who brings football-talk into every conversation? Perhaps with an active imagination? There’s a series of children’s football books by Frank Lampard himself which could be just the thing to match your child’s interests. Book 1 sees Frankie and his team swept away to a magical world of footie playing pirates!

Stadia Sports Recommendation:

Frankie’s Magic Football Published by Hachette Children’s Group ISBN: 9781405526555

 

Finding A Way In

Get them hooked on a new favourite.

Barry Loser is the best at football NOT! From Jim Smith’s The Barry Loser Series Published by Egmont UK Ltd. ISBN: 9781405287142 | How to Motivate & Inspire Reluctant Readers with Sport Books for Children

One way of teaching reluctant readers to take an interest in books is to introduce them to a character they can relate to, before showing them that the protagonist is just as much fun in various other situations. With many children’s book series, it’s okay to read them out of order. Start them off with a football story then encourage them to go back to the start of the series!

Stadia Sports Recommendation:

Barry Loser is the best at football NOT! From Jim Smith’s series published by Egmont UK Ltd. ISBN: 9781405287142

 

The Ensemble Piece

Give the gift of shared experience.

Girls FC Helena Pielichaty’s series published by Walker Books Ltd. ISBN: 9781406383324 | How to Motivate & Inspire Reluctant Readers with Sport Books for Children

Some of the best books for children include a whole set of protagonists. This can be really helpful for sporty children who are learning about teamwork. It’s also ideal as they needn’t like every aspect of every character, instead relating to various life experiences played out on the page.

Stadia Sports Recommendation:

Girls F.C. Helena Pielichaty’s series published by Walker Books Ltd. ISBN: 9781406383324

 

Cultural History

Where did it all start?

The Legend of Morvidus: The Bear, the Bat and the Ragged Staff Published by Brewin Books. ISBN: 9781858585383 | How to Motivate & Inspire Reluctant Readers with Sport Books for Children

Illustrations are particularly important to reluctant readers, hence the popularity of the bright, ‘comic book style’ drawings often seen in school sport books and graphic novels for children. However, for those looking for a different style to motivate children to read, there are some gorgeous alternatives with a historical touch, inspiring them to engage with sport. For example, the birth of the Great North Run, or the mythology behind Warwickshire County Cricket Club.

Stadia Sports Recommendation:

Harry Miller’s Run An edition of David Almond’s tale, illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino, published by Walker Books Ltd. ISBN: 9781406365924

The Legend of Morvidus: The Bear, the Bat and the Ragged Staff Published by Brewin Books. ISBN: 9781858585383

 

Role Models

Sometimes real life stories are the best motivators.

EDGE: Sporting Heroes An extensive series published by Hachette Children's Group. ISBN: 9781445153339 | How to Motivate & Inspire Reluctant Readers with Sport Books for Children

Try to find a book dedicated to telling the story of your child’s role model from the world of sport. After all, children and young people with a passion for sport are likely to have a favourite athlete they can’t get enough of! Remember, all reading is beneficial; should you struggle to find a book at a suitable level for your reluctant reader, you can use simple articles. However it is sometimes possible to find biographies targeted towards young readers.

Stadia Sports Recommendation:

EDGE: Sporting Heroes An extensive series published by Hachette Children’s Group. ISBN: 9781445153339

 

Fun Facts

Literacy supporting other subjects.

Football School Books by Alex Bellos & Ben Lyttleton, illustrated by Spike Gerrell and published by Walker Books Ltd. ISBN: 9781406379211 | How to Motivate & Inspire Reluctant Readers with Sport Books for Children

‘Fact-file’ books have been popular for decades, inspiring children to get interested in all sorts of topics. Take Horrible Histories, for example; these books and their style of putting across information are renowned for getting even the most reluctant readers interested in world history. The popularity of these types of children’s books means you’re likely to find some reading encouragement on the perfect sport theme for your child.

Stadia Sports Recommendation:

Football School Books by Alex Bellos & Ben Lyttleton, illustrated by Spike Gerrell and published by Walker Books Ltd. ISBN: 9781406379211

 

Familiar Faces

Let “the world’s biggest football social media stars” get them on board.

F2 World of Football: How to Play Like a Pro Published by Blink Publishing. ISBN: 9781911274445 | How to Motivate & Inspire Reluctant Readers with Sport Books for Children

As we’ve already discussed, autobiographies are often too long or complicated for children to read. However, some sports figures have released their own non-fiction books especially for children. Billy Wingrove and Jeremy Lynch (The F2) have done just this. Since the success of their first football book, they’ve also ventured into the world of fiction with a graphic novel for young people, illustrated by Amrit Birdi.

Stadia Sports Recommendation:

F2 World of Football: How to Play Like a Pro Published by Blink Publishing. ISBN: 9781911274445

F2: Galaxy of Football: Attack of the Football Cyborgs Published by Blink Publishing. ISBN: 9781911600008

 

Engaging Mysteries

Real life issues meet other worldly adventure.

Rugby Spirit Gerard Siggins’s series published by O'Brien Press Ltd. ISBN: 9781847173331 | How to Motivate & Inspire Reluctant Readers with Sport Books for Children

Some books are engaging because they look at one specific topic in great detail. However, many YA novels juggle mysteries and action alongside more serious issues. To introduce young people to this kind of reading, you may need a theme such as sport to hook them in in the first place.

Stadia Sports Recommendation:

Rugby Spirit Gerard Siggins’s series published by O’Brien Press Ltd. ISBN: 9781847173331

 

Sports Books and Reading Ideas for Children

At Stadia Sports we’re passionate about encouraging people to get up and moving. However, even the most sporty young people can’t spend all their time being active! Children need down-time to process the comings and goings of the day. What better way to meet those developmental needs than through reading?

If you have more sports book recommendations for reluctant readers, let us know via Twitter!

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