Friday, November 22, 2013

Hooking the hard-to-hook: Part Two

Last month I did a post on using The Bluford Series as a way to connect with struggling and reluctant readers. Another great resource I’ve utilized over the years to hook the hard-to-hook is Orca Soundings published by Orca Book Publishers.

Orca Soundings is a collection of about fifty high interest novels written between the second and fifth grade level. There are mystery, romance, adventure, survival and contemporary stories.

When I taught junior high and high school, these books were part of my classroom library. My struggling readers were attracted by the covers and the manageable length of the stories. Some of my students went on to read higher level trade books after getting their start with Orca Soundings.

Orca Soundings has received positive reviews from the big reviewers:

"Soundings...use simple vocabulary and short sentences combined with lots of authentic dialogue and engrossing subject matter, making them ideal for high-interest, low-reading-level collections. The authors are not afraid of controversial language or material, which is in large part the secret of the series' appeal. Open endings lend to discussion and further exploration. These little novels with their colorful covers are sure to be a hit."VOYA

"With their Dr. Phil talk-show themes, angst-driven protagonists, and short texts, these slick novels will appeal to reluctant readers who want fast-paced escapist reads." - School Library Journal

"[The Soundings have] interesting and fast paced plots...At a reading level of grade 4 or lower and generally being just over a hundred pages in length, these books will have students feeling a lot less intimidated than if they were given The Grapes of Wrath." - Dwayne Jeffery, Reaching Reluctant Readers (aka Books for Boys)” in The Alan Review 

It’s another great resource to have when trying to hook the hard-to-hook.

Have you read any Orca Soundings books? What other books have you used when trying to hook the hard-to-hook?

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. I love Orca Soundings books! Great tip. And I thought ORCA was a Canadian publisher only - thanks for this.

  2. Thanks, Terry. And yes, ORCA is an independently owned Canadian children's book publisher based in Victoria. They do focus on publishing Canadian authors but distribute their books internationally.

  3. I haven't heard of them, but they sound like a great tool!

  4. Huh. Hadn't heard of them. My kids actually home school and reading eventually becomes their first and main love through our approach. I did have a struggling reader, but she's now burned through the entire Harry Potter series and scours the library shelves, so I think we're good.

  5. I have read books published by Orca, but I don't think they were Soundings. These do sound great--thank you Paul for featuring both the Orca Sounding books and the Bluford series. I have a couple of readers close to home whom I may steer towards these resources.

  6. I had not heard of these. Good to know. Thank you.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!