Monday, February 20, 2012

Yes, Teenagers Read!

At the beginning of each semester of my class, Reading for Pleasure, I give kids a scavenger hunt, designed my my friend and colleague, Shelbie Witte, and let the kids collect book recommendations. I have several purposes for this work -- ours is a very quiet class, and I look for ways for students to be more active and be able to talk to each other about books. The first day of school kids typically sit all day and listen to teachers read their syllabi...I try to mix things up.

So, we wander the room collecting book titles and then I compile all the pages into a master list. This is what I'm sharing today...but I tell the students it's a rough draft...they have to help me with editing -- spelling, punctuation. I use this list in presentations and I tell the kids my credibility with my audience will suffer if I've got typos in our list. So, I ask them to read and proofread...then add at least one more title to our list. At the beginning of the semester, many students have NOT read for pleasure and feel a little intimidated...but by this time in the semester, nearly every student has finished a book (at least) and have a solid, real recommendation. The final list will be close to double this one.

But I share this, unedited, to make my point: young people DO read. Providing an elective class that values reading attracts those readers, and helps create those readers as out-of-practice and reluctant readers discover a book that moves them.

We Recommend
13 Reasons Why
A Child Called It
A Long Way gone
Across the Universe
All the Pretty Horses
Angela’s Ashes
Angels and Demons
Animal Farm
Anthropology of an American Girl
Battle Royale
Beyond Belief
Black Stallion
Bluford Series
Breaking Dawn
Cage of Stars
Castle in the Attic
Cat in the Hat
Catcher in the Rye
Century of Sports
Chain Fire
Charlotte’s Web
Cirque Dr Freak
City of Glass
City of Thieves
Clockwork Angel
Dances with Wolves
Dear John
Death on the Nile
Death-Tossed Waves
Diary of a Girl
Dolphin Tale
Ender’s Game
Evil under the Sun
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Eye of the World
Fahrenheit 451
Falling Up
Four Colored Girls
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
Giving Tree
Goose Bumps
Gossip Girls
Hardy Boys
Harris and Me
Harrison Bergeron
Harry Potter
Heaven is for Real
Heir of Mystery
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Horus Heresy
House of Scorpions
Howl’s Moving Castle
Hush, Hush
I am Number Four
I am the Messenger
If I Stay
Invisible Monsters
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Jade Gruer
Jane Eyre
Julius Caesar
Junie B. Jones
King of the World
Knight Life
Lamb, the Gospel According to Biff…
Lamont the Lonely Monster
Last Battle
Leaves of Grass
Life of Pi
Lord of the Rings
Lovely Bones
Man without a Country
Maximum Ride
Mere Christianity
Million Dollar Shot
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Montana, 1948
Nancy Drew
No Country for Old Met
Not ‘til the Fat Lady Sings
Oh, the Places You’ll Go
Once a Runner
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Other Side of Dark
Paradise Lost
Perfect Chemistry
Perks of being a Wallflower
Picture of Dorian Gray
Picture This
Pictures of Hollis Woods
Pleasures of the Damned
Pride and Prejudice
Redeeming Love
Safe Haven
Scarlet Letter
Shadow Riders
Ship Breaker
Sirens of the Titan
Slaughter House Five
Something Borrowed
Something Rotten
Spoon River Anthology
Star Wars
State of Fear
Summer of the Monkeys
The *uckup
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Art of Moving
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
The Bible
The Compound
The Eternal Ones
The Five People you Meet in Heaven
The Forest of Hands and Teeth
The Foundation
The Future of Us
The Gift
The Giver
The God Box
The Goddess Test
The Great Book of Amber
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Green Mile
The Guardian
The Gunslinger
The Help
The Hobbit
The Home at the End of the World
The Host
The Hunger Games
The Last Battle
The Last Song
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Magician’s Nephew
The Outsiders
The Pleasure of My Company
The Princess Bride
The Road
The Secret
The Things they Carried
To Kill a Mockingbird
Trail of Texas
Tuck Everlasting
Vampire Academy
Vampire Kisses
Water for Elephants
We Were Here
Where the Heart Is
Where the Red Fern Grows
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Where the Wild Things Are
Wildwood Dancing
Winn Dixie

If you could add one more book, a book you know young people enjoy, what would it be? If YOU can help with proofreading, I'd be ever so grateful!


  1. Yes, teenagers DO indeed read, especially when they have a teacher who shares and talks about and reads good books with them! Good for you. I must add "What Happened to Cass McBride," by Gail Giles. When I share an excerpt of this book with my students, they are literally lined up at the door when the bell rings so they can run to the library to check it out! Also "Paper Towns," by John Green (and all his other books). The YA genre has exploded -- there are so many great books! Michael Grant's series ("Gone," "Hunger," etc.) is also crazy popular right now.

  2. I just gave a kid "Right Behind You" by Giles, and now he's reading "Shattering Glass!" I read the first paragraph of "Glass" and step aside -- kids are fighting for the book. Haven't read "Gone" yet...We're all in love with "Fault in our Stars" by Green. Will be sharing our expanded list of books soon. What are your other go-to titles and authors?

  3. Why am I just finding your BLOG? Miss you! Shelbie