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Finding Books to Read:

The single best predictor for academic success from primary grades through graduate school is the amount of time a student spends reading for pleasure. High school students should read books of their own choosing for their own enjoyment for minimally three hours per week.

When students say they don't like to read, often it's because they just haven't found something they like.  Here are some web resources to help you find books you might like:

  • The young adult section of the American Library Association site has lists of award-winning and youth-recommended books from at least the last ten years.  Also, check the side-bars for recommendations for reluctant readers, or books for the college-bound. There's also an app that helps you find books based on books you've liked. This site is a rich resource:
  • Go to for a list of student-generated suggestions. This is the list on the bulletin board in the English Hallway. Many of the titles on the grade 7-8 lists are perfectly appropriate for older readers as well, and some of the “high school” titles might well appeal to younger readers.  Also here is Nancie Atwell's excellent discussion of what it takes to become a good reader and why it matters.
  • NoveList plus, accessible through the Magee Library website (password is in the Magee student agenda book, page 46)  Available here is an app to help you find books based on what you've read and liked.
  •  This is the New York Public Library's area for young readers--books and more.
  • Canadian Libraries are Serving Youth--This site focuses primarily on Canadian titles.
  •  This is the main site of the American LIbrary Association.  It's a very large site.  You can use the search "recommended teen books" in the site's search bar, or use some of the searches below.
    • ALA Top Ten Books for Young Adults
    • ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
    • ALA Alex Award Winner
    • Teens Top Ten
    • National Book Award Winner or Finalist
    • Michael Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
  • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
  • Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice
  • Reference to a starred review in Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, The Horn Book, or School Library Journal

And of course, talk to your friends.  See what they’re reading.  You might also check what’s been popular in the Magee library.  Books that are present in multiple copies are a clue.

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