Best Summer Reading Books for Kids with Learning Differences

It’s understandable that kids want (and need!) time to relax during their time off from school. But procrastinating summer reading assignments (or worse - not reading over the summer at all!) can really set them back when they start back up in September.

Most schools have pretty comprehensive summer reading lists or requirements and some schools may give your child freedom to choose. Regardless, if your child has a learning difference like dyslexia or even ADHD, then their relationship with reading may be strained.

They may not be interested in anything their curriculum has to offer, which may be because those reading lists aren’t made to be accommodating or inclusive of stories your child can relate to. Plus, it can be difficult to find an easy to read and engaging story that poses just enough of a challenge.

If that’s the case, here are a few of our favorite books that we’re sure will convert even the most reluctant of readers.

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The Adventures of Phoebe Flower
by Barbara Roberts
Lexile Measure: 570L

It’s hard to make sense of a diagnosis when you’re a kid. Understanding how a learning difference like ADHD affects behavior, self esteem, and interpersonal relationships is a big endeavor. Barbara Roberts’ series is full of lighthearted and relatable adventures that help explain what ADHD is and how families can work together to build confidence and succeed both academically and socially.



Author: A True Story
by Helen Lester
Lexile Measure: 600L

Before Helen Lester was a successful writer, she was a kid struggling with learning differences. But through hacks like the “fizzle box” and a positive attitude, Helen shows readers that mistakes are a critical part of creation and disappointments can sometimes be the greatest triumphs in a writer’s life.



The Don't-Give-Up Kid and Learning Differences
by Jeanne Gehret
Lexile Measure: 600L

In this story, Alex struggles with dyslexia and feels inadequate in the classroom. But thanks to his work with a specialist, he learns that his difficulty has nothing to do with how smart he is. By examining the life of Thomas Edison, a great inventor who also lived with ADD and dyslexia, Alex becomes the don’t-give-up kid.




I Survived
by Lauren Tarshis
Lexile Measure: 590–620L

The I Survived series of books are exciting and action-packed—and also filled with historical events (like the sinking of the Titanic) and important figures like presidents and military officials. Each story is told through the eyes of a kid who survived a scary or thrilling event in history. Some of the stories are even available as graphic novels.



Percy Jackson & the Olympians 
by Rick Riordan
Lexile Measure: 550L

A great series popularized by its cinematic adaptations, these books are about a boy who learns that his difficulty reading and fitting in stems from his unusual parentage. As he’s pulled deeper into his mysterious father’s magical world, he learns that he’s humanity's only hope against ancient forces.



by Patricia Reilly Giff
Lexile Measure: 600L

Written by Patricia Reilly Giff, a Connecticut native and two time winner of the Newbery Honor Award, this book tells the story of Sam: an eleven year old hoping to solve the mystery of his past. But, because of his difficulties reading, he needs to find people he can trust to help him unravel the hidden documents locked away in his grandfather’s attic.

sixth grade


Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You
by Barthe DeClements
Lexile Measure: 700L

Kids with learning differences may feel like they have to hide their problems so they don’t feel singled out. They may use memorization to help them through live reading in class or try to avoid attention and choose not to ask questions. This book from Barthe DeClements helps to soothe some of those insecurities by driving home the point that needing help is okay!




163rd Street Trilogy
by Joyce Hansen

Lexile Measure: 620L

Starting with The Gift-Giver, this series from a former New York City school teacher tells the story of Doris who helps her friend Amir, the class clown, learn to read and advance in school. This heartfelt story captures the experiences of vulnerable students who have to grow up faster than they should while imparting valuable lessons of empathy and community.


funny girl Funny Girl
by Betsy Bird

Lexile Measure: 600L

Funny Girl is an anthology of short stories, comics, Mad Libs, letters, and more from hilarious female writers (like Cece Bell, Sophie Blackall, Libba Bray, Shannon Hale, Lisa Graff, and Raina Telgemeier). The use of different creative mediums and styles of writing means that there is sure to be a story in this anthology for any reader – even reluctant ones.


Don’t forget – it’s important to involve your child in their reading choices! Talk to them to get a sense of what they’re interested in reading. Looking for more recommendations? Click here to read more great books for readers with learning differences.

Summer Open House; Online and in-person; The Summer Program reinforces and enhances skills for the coming school year.


Eagle Hill School is a private school for students with learning differences located in Greenwich, Connecticut. Their academic program is designed to help students struggling with auditory processing disorder, and other differences such as dyscalculia, dyslexia, ADHD, executive functioning disorder, and dysgraphia. Specialized remedial learning programs are taught by experienced teachers who help students navigate through learning challenges, preparing them for bright futures ahead.

Topics: Learning Differences, Reading Recommendations