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How does humour help reluctant readers?

Have you ever noticed how much children like to laugh? Of course you have! So it’s no wonder that authors like David Walliams, Jeff Kinney and Jacqueline Wilson are so popular, with their books selling millions worldwide.

But what’s the key to their success? The answer is pretty simple: they have a wide appeal. And that includes attracting readers who are normally reluctant to pick up books.

ARB Books, the Accelerated Reader bookseller, has put together a pack of favourite funny writers. So here’s a look at how humorous books can encourage reluctant readers to read more.


Relatable Characters

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney is a perfect example of how children love to read about problems that they are likely to experience themselves. The protagonist Greg Heffley struggles to fit in as he begins a new school. This is clearly a situation that all children can relate to. And they’re helped through their own anxieties by reading how the hero deals with issues such as rejection or bullying.

Similarly, Jacqueline Wilson is skilled at tackling serious topics in her Tracy Beaker series. The books have dealt with mental health, bullying and adoption, among other areas. But they’ve made these tough subjects palatable to a young audience because the heroine, Tracy Beaker, is so feisty.


Adventurous Plots

David Walliams has established himself as a modern-day Roald Dahl, with daring storylines that feature his characters encountering all sorts of scrapes and suspenseful predicaments.

One of his recurrent themes is youngsters bonding with their grandparents as they overcome obstacles. Again, this is an area that many young readers will find funny and charming.

In Gangsta Granny, for instance, Ben teams up with his grandma in an audacious plan to steal the crown jewels. Similarly, Grandpa’s Great Escape, sees a youngster called Jack help his grandfather break out of a sinister care home.



Research from a National Literacy Trust report published in 2017 shows that children experience a significant drop in reading for pleasure from the ages of 8 to 16. So you could argue that anything to help a child stay interested in reading is a good thing.

TV, movie and theatre adaptations of popular novels offer children a way of discovering books for themselves. For instance, if a child enjoyed Grandpa’s Great Escape – which aired on TV in early 2018 – they may feel inspired to pick up the original book, or similar books.

David Walliams has seen many of his titles adapted. Mr Stink, Gangsta Granny, The Boy In The Dress and Billionaire Boy have all had TV versions. And Gangsta Granny has been turned into a popular touring theatre production, which is due to run in the West End for two weeks in August 2018.

David is not alone, however, as Jacqueline Wilson and Jeff Kinney have seen similar success on the screen. All of which helps reluctant readers find the source material – and encourages them to have a love of reading.

ARB Books is an Accelerated Reader bookseller. We provide Accelerated Reader book packs to primary schools. We are committed to giving you the best deals. But we also provide a bespoke service to meet your requirements.

Take a look at this humorous collection. Or get in touch by calling 0161 442 4571.

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