Reading Lists from TeachersFirst

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.

Banned 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.

Good 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.

Good Books for Middle Schoolers - A concise and helpful list of books for the Middle School grades from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Banned 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- starter

Top Rankings:

The 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.

Best 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 the current year as well as several years prior. Find the good works here. 

Specific Interest Lists

Beyond 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.

Hispanic fiction for young adults. Not annotated, but lots of titles.

Holocaust Annotated Bibliographies and Books - A thorough listing of links to booklists on the Holocaust.

If You Like Harry Potter - More fantastic and mythic adventures from the Springfield Library

It Happens Every Spring - Great books for baseball lovers, from the Springfield Library.

A 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

Books by Survivors - An annotated list of books written by Holocaust survivors.

More Survival Stories - A listing from the San Jose, CA Library

Tear Jerkers - Romantic fiction for teens, from a public library's collections.