I truly believe that everyone can become a reader. And although it might sound naive, I think sometimes all it takes is the right book at the right time to make a lifelong reader. Summer is a great time to let kids explore reading in a relaxed environment. Below is a guide to our favorite reading lists for students of all ages, abilities and interests.
- Katie Gould, Content Lead of Share My Lesson
Best General Reading Lists
The ALSC is part of the American Library Association (the world’s oldest and largest library association) and has four age-specific lists updated for summer 2017.
The lists were compiled by ALSC’s expert Quicklists consulting committee and are free on the ALSC website. Each list is colorful, customizable and includes title, author, illustrator, publisher, ISBN and a short description. Finally, each list is a two-page foldable—perfect for double-sided printing and slipping into backpacks.
Best List/Collection of Multicultural and Anti-Bias Books
The Anti-Defamation League has been fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bias for more than 100 years through education and activism. Books Matter is online directory of over 700 children’s and young adult books focusing on diversity, bias, bullying and social justice. You can quickly search the collection by filtering through topics and subtopics that leads to a page of recommended books. Each listed book includes the jacket cover image, authors and illustrators, recommended age group, publisher, ISBN, year and a brief description of the book.
Additionally, ADL editors choose a Book of the Month that includes “an Educator Discussion Guide and a Parent/Family Discussion Guide,” which provides discussion questions, activities, talking points and additional resources.” This is a great resource for the summer for parents looking to engage their children in a meaningful way around social justice.The ADL also has an informative blog on summer reading you won’t want to miss!
Best Lists for English Language Learners
If you’re looking for great books for your ELL students, Share My Lesson partner Colorín Colorado is an indispensable resource. It has more than 100 lists organized by topic, including adoption; bilingual books; cultural traditions from American Indian, Hispanic and Asian Pacific heritage; immigrant stories, sports, history, poetry, science fiction and more. Each listing provides the author, illustrator (if applicable), age level, book cover image and a short description of the book.
Best LGBTQ Book Lists
Our next two “lists” (actually Pinterest boards) come from the rock star nonprofit organization The Trevor Project which focuses on suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. The picture books are perfect for younger children and feature stories celebrating all kids and all families. The young adult list showcases books with LGBTQ characters and/or themes. Each includes a short written description that is pinned to the book jacket (see below).
Best Lists for Students with Dyslexia
- Books Focusing on Dyslexia
- Reading List for Creating a Classroom Reading Culture
- Graphic Novels in the Classroom
Dyslexia is a common learning disorder characterized by difficulty reading. It looks different in each individual so it can sometimes be hard to identify. To complicate things further, there are a lot of myths about dyslexia—for example, kids with dyslexia are just lazy and aren’t trying hard enough—that keep students from getting the right kind of support.
The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity is a treasure trove of information for parents and educators; we love that they have three extensive book lists just for kids with dyslexia. The first list contains stories that focus on or have positive (and realistic) characters who struggle with reading. The next list is large, includes titles and authors (the image links are broken sadly) and is described as: “… titles that hooked all my students, regardless of ability. I consider these books central in launching an egalitarian reading culture.” List three begins with an introduction from Kyle Redford, YCDC education editor, that explains and establishes the gloriousness that is graphic novels.
In our fifth-grade class library, graphic novels are the grand equalizers. They invite all levels of readers into reading conversations. Since everyone can read graphic novels, everyone can talk about them. And talk they do. I love to witness how graphic novels allow everyone in the class to develop a passionate reading identity.
For a great webinar on Dyslexia from teacher Brian Smith check out 'Is it dyslexia? And if it is how to help' on Share My Lesson.
We’d be remiss not to mention one of our favorite graphic novels, “When the Rules Aren’t Right”by Leslie Tolf, which takes students back in time to learn about women’s labor history.
Best Books for Every Budget Lists
Finally, we wanted to share some information from our incredible partner First Book to help ensure that all classrooms and students have access to fantastic books.
All families want to instill a love of reading in their children. But more than 1.3 million children in America come from low-income families, many of whom can’t afford to fill their homes with books for their kids. This is where educators like you so often come in, and First Book can help you provide the resources that all of the children you serve deserve.
First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise working exclusively with programs and schools serving kids in need to ensure they have access to top quality books and educational resources. Sign up with First Book for immediate access to materials that the children you serve need to succeed - without breaking your budget.
Signing up with First Book is free for every educator in your program or school. Books can be used to build program libraries or sent home for families to enjoy together.
Here’s how to access books for your students:
- Sign up with First Book! All people serving children from underserved communities are eligible to sign up with First Book to access free and low-cost books and resources.
- Visit the First Book Marketplace to access deeply discounted brand new books, school supplies, and basic needs items for children ages 0-18.
- Tell your coworkers and community partners! Pass this email on to your fellow program staff, teachers, and partners anywhere in the country, and anyone else working with low income families so they can sign up, too!
Favorite Sites for Audiobooks
To round out our Summer Reading Guide, we’ve included a few highly rated sites for audio books. Storynory is a great resource for free children’s audiobooks. It has engaging illustrations to capture students’ attention, a brief synopsis, and the entire text is included. Audible is one of the most popular sites to get audiobooks, and although they aren’t free, the site has an incredible selection sure to delight kids and parents alike.
Happy Summer Reading! Stayed turned for an upcoming blog mid-June on best summer reads for teachers.
For more great summer and general reading resources for teachers, check out Share My Lesson's Summer Reading Collection.