Reluctant readers

Rosanne Bartlett finds star authors delivering tales that match high excitement with low reading age

Johnny Delgado: Like Father, Like Son. By Kevin Brooks. Barrington Stoke. pound;4.99.

13 to 16; reading age eight-plus

Pack of 10 different reading books plus teachers' book with copymasters Pounds 55 Nine to 13; reading age seven to eight

This is not only a detective story, but also a story about friendship, truth and families, as the author explains at the beginning.

The plot speeds along - gang warfare is rife on Johnny's estate, he is on a mission to find out who killed his father and why. The tension heightens, concluding with a rooftop drama on a snowy evening.

This is Kevin Brooks at his best, writing in his favourite genre, with vivid descriptions and characterisations. A great book for reading aloud.

Highly recommended: action-packed and full of suspense, it will keep even the most reluctant reader hooked until the last page The Greatest. By Alan Gibbons. Illustrated by Dylan Gibson. FYI series. Barrington Stoke. pound;5.99

13 to 16; reading age eight-plus

FYI is an interesting series ("Fiction with stacks of facts," says the publisher), which combines stories for limited readers with related facts.

Well-known authors provide high-impact storylines that will encourage reluctant readers to pick up a book.

Here Alan Gibbons, who has won awards for fantasy and contemporary thrillers, compares Muhammad Ali's boxing career with that of 12-year-old Ali. Like Muhammad Ali, Ali faces prejudice from a local gang member, who will be his opponent in the area boxing championship.

The short story keeps you guessing about who will win the fight, and throughout you are provided with interesting facts relating to Muhammad Ali's career.

Dylan Gibson's manga-style illustrations support the storyline, help build tension and will appeal to teenagers with limited reading skills TV Heat. By Jonny Zucker. Full Flight 4 series. Badger Publishing. pound;4.25

Many books for limited and reluctant readers tend to cover subjects and storylines that appeal to boys. This series aims to redress the balance by focusing on subject matter, in a range of genres, that appeals to girls; this title will resonate with all young viewers of reality TV.

The teachers' book (available with packs of reading books) includes worksheets covering word, sentence and text-level activities, which help differentiate the curriculum and provide opportunities for group discussion and individual activities

Rosanne Bartlett is assistant headteacher with responsibility for learning support at The Earls High School, Halesowen, West Midlands

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