Making Customized Reading Lists

Is there a teacher anywhere who has not at least once wished for a reading list? A safe list. A ready-made list. A list to guide youthful leisure reading and to recommend to parents and colleagues. Probably not, but no matter how strong the desire, it is not one that is easily satisfied.

While everyone knows that children come in all physical shapes and sizes, it is easy to forget that their mental development takes all shapes and sizes as well. Varying skills, individual interests, and rates of maturity lend more parameters to the reading formula than any single reading list can satisfy.

Teachers may find greater help in developing "custom-made" lists with the help of a trusted anthology. Titles are categorized by reading level and genre, and the accompanying annotations will allow the teacher to achieve a good match between the content of a book and a specific child. The teacher can also glean from those annotations an overall sense of the book—or elements within the book—that may or may not be deemed suitable to a particular reader or group.

Even the newest anthologies will include some titles that have gone out of print and omit other new titles that have not yet been reviewed. However, a trusted anthology will give a broad selection of titles to consider for a particular school, class, or student, letting you create lists to meet the reading needs of a wide variety of young readers.

The following are some anthologies to consider:

Best Books
by Donna Hess, BJU Press, 1994, ISBN 0-89084-729-0

Best Books is no longer in print but is available as a free download
Best Books pdf document

Honey for a Child’s Heart, 4th edition
by Gladys Hunt, Zondervan Books, 2002, ISBN 978-0310242468
available on Kindle and Nook

Books Children Love, revised edition
by Elizabeth Wilson, Crossway, 2002, ISBN 978-1581341980
available on Kindle

Books That Build Character
by William Kilpatrick, Touchstone, 1994, ISBN 0-671-88423-9

Reprinted from Teacher to Teacher, Volume 5, Issue 2.

About Nancy Lohr

Nancy Lohr, formerly a school librarian, is now Acquisitions Editor for JourneyForth Books. She is the author of two children’s books, Songbird and Pelts and Promises.

Used with permission from BJU Press. For permission to reproduce this article, please write BJU Press.

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