TeachersFirst’s Reading Lists
Do you have "reluctant readers" in your classroom?
These are the students who can read at or above grade level, but who can’t
seem to find anything to read that they find interesting. There are one
or two in every class, and suggesting the right book can often make the
difference in these students’ performance. But what to suggest?
The book lists below contain suggestions to fit a wide
variety of interests typical in middle and high school students. The works
include literary classics as well as contemporary works. Find out what
your reluctant readers’ interests are, and these lists can help you interest
them in reading.
Books Week – The start point for the American Library Association’s
banned books week activities provides lots of resources on banned books
for students, parents, and schools. A popular discussion topic this year
is Harry Potter – a character sure to resonate with many students.
General Interest Lists:
The TeachersFirst Lifetime
List – Editor Brenda Walton’s picks of more than 200 works. It’s
a mix of classic and contemporary. Some selections work for middle schoolers;
others – especially the philosophy – are better suited to adult level
readers. Teachers will like some of these, too! The list includes links
to appropriate resources from the TeachersFirst collections.
Books for Fourth and Fifth Graders – From Atwater’s Mr.
Popper’s Penguins to White’s Charlotte’s
Web, this list provides some great reading ideas for the 4th
and 5th grade set.
Books for Middle Schoolers – A concise and helpful list of books
for the Middle School grades from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Charles Public Library Best Books for Young Adults 2000 – This annual
list of fiction and non-fiction complied by the Young Adult Library
Services Association of the St. Charles Public Library provides annotated
suggestions for young adults ages 12 to 18.
Books Online – The University of Pennsylvania provides an interesting
listing of books that have been are " banned"– suppressed
or censored by authorities. The site provides a short history of the
books listed and give links to other sites with the same concern. This
is a useful site for history and English teachers, and a great discussion-
Recommended Reading List – This list, taken from Mortimer Adler
and Charles Van Doren’s classic How to Read a
Book, provides a comprehensive list of the great books of all
ages. It’s a great reference list for a lifetime reading program.
Top 100 List of Novels – Ever wonder what the people in Madison,
Wisconsin (home of the University of Wisconsin) are reading? Here’s
a helpful list of 100 Top Books complied by the Madison Public Library.
Best English-Language Fiction of the Twentieth Century – An interesting
list of best-loved books collected by Brian Kunde at Stanford University.
Includes publication date.
of the Year for Young Adults – The American Library Association’s
annual listings of the best young adult fiction and non-fiction. You’ll
find listings for 2002 as well as several years prior. Find the good
Specific Interest Lists
American Reading List – The New York Public Library offers this
extensive, annotated bibliography of books, poetry, and song by and
about African Americans. Selections are grouped by readers’ age, and
there are dozens of selections. Well worth a look if you’re in search
of reading materials.
– From Jim Bouton’s Strike Zone to Mark Winegardner’s The Veracruz Blues,
here’s a helpful list of books on America’s favorite past time to entice
the baseball fans in your dugout.
Nancy Drew – A Guide to Girls’ Literature – Grades
6-12 – More than a reading list, this is a scholarly annotated
bibliography of books written for girls over the past 200 years. Organized
by both theme and chronology, the site shows the change in emphasis
on "proper reading" for young ladies. The more contemporary
listings may also be of interest to today’s students.
Studies Reading Lists – Grades 9-12 –
An interesting list of links to information on Celtic studies, with
links and annotations.
Classics – Even the most reluctant of readers will be forced to
admit, "Yeah, I did like Where the Red Fern Grows." There’s
just something great about a good dog book… Here’s a list–pages and
pages– of really great books about dogs!
to Change the World – Middle and High School
– What can you do to make the world better, safer, cleaner, kinder?
Here’s a list of books to help answer those questions.
a Conspiracy! – Find suggestions for great political thrillers in
this list compiled by the Kansas City Public Library.
Fiction – A list of books about money, money, money, money!
Bibliographies and Books – A thorough listing of links to booklists
on the Holocaust.
Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust – Links to Holocaust literature
and reading list classified by elementary, middle and high school levels.
Source: Florida Center for Instructional Technology, College of Education,
University of South Florida
by Survivors – An annotated list of books written by Holocaust survivors.
Quests and Kings – Here’s a varied reading list of books related
to the Arthurian legends.
Apocalypse – A great resource for end-of-the-world literature.
Cross’d Lovers – Here’s a whole list of love from Gone
with the Wind to The Bridges of Madison
County. Hankies suggested.
– Laugh and cry with the titles on this list!
Adventure – Lots of stories here classified according to survival
tales, out to sea, hiking, rapids, mountain climbing and up in the air
adventures. Compiled by the Bloomfield Township Library, Bloomfield
– A whole coffin-full of vampire tales.