It can be challenging to find good books for students to read that have good content and are age appropriate. The debate continues about what age is the Hunger Games really appropriate for? When I was a teacher-librarian I did not sign out the Hunger Games to anyone younger than Grade 7 unless they brought me a note from a parent. Teachers are always looking for a good and unique read alouds that have not been done by a previous teacher.
In Ontario, we are lucky that our Ontario Library Association runs reading contests from ages JK-Grade 12. Every year a team of library and education professionals read the submissions for the various categories and select ten titles to be featured and read in schools across the province. Students have a set time period to read the novels (usually January – April) and then they vote online about which book they felt was the best read for them.
Look for the Forest of Reading section on this website for the book lists separated by grade level.
I direct students and parents to previous reading lists for these contests in order to help them select good literature. Some contests include high-interest non-fiction titles as well.
Teachers can help different book choices for their students by having them select texts to read at their appropriate reading level. i.e. with parent permission, a Grade 8 student needing a challenge could read a White Pine novel.
I have also used the Blue Spruce picture books in my intermediate classroom if I want to model a reading strategy or skill. Some of the books have amazing illustrations and can also be used for Art lessons.
Print off the applicable lists for your grade level and keep them close by when a student says “I don’t know what to read?” They can Google titles that sound interesting to them, and hopefully, find something that meets their wants and your needs.
Additional Reading Information
- 10 Books for Picky Middle School Readers
- How To Help Struggling Readers and Writers
- Close Reading and Text Annotation Ideas