For me, summer officially started on May 31. After one week of completely unplugging from work, I decided to log into my work email to make sure there weren’t any fires that needed putting out. It was 10 days into summer and I had a student email. I’ll admit, my first reaction was reminiscent of Bradley Cooper from The Hangover: It is summer. I do not know you. You do not exist.
But then I clicked on the email and realized that this former student had a clear reason for emailing me, one that made my heart smile. She wanted a book recommendation. She had already read the one summer reading book requirement, but now she was stumped.
Mindlessly clicking through Amazon reviews on a Kindle is the new channel surfing. I find myself reading a few sentences, shrugging, and then clicking the next review – only to fall asleep before ever choosing a book.
With summer starting and students looking for new books to read, I thought I’d gather five of my go-to resources for when I have to give recommendations to students based on reading preferences. Let me know what your favorite resources are!
1. Your Next Read
Type the title of the book you just loved and finished and be presented with a web showing titles that would make sense to be “your next read.” Click on a book and it moves to the center, with new recommendations surrounding it.
- User-friendly interface
- Immediate reviews of the center book listed in sidebar
- Search your original book multiple times to get a new webs of recommendations
- Option to create an account to “save” your books, thus creating more personalized recommendations
- Only up to 8 recommendations are shown at a time, with some “blank spots”
- Multiple editions of books are listed, need to pick the “best” one
2. What Should I Read Next
Type in the title and author of a book you enjoyed to get a long list of similar books.
- Books are listed with very specific characteristics that go beyond the vague “genre”
- Can filter by these specific categories
- Large list
- To get summaries, reviews or any additional information, you are redirected to Amazon
3. Young Adult Library Services Association
A huge database dedicated to informing teens, parents and educators on the power of reading by providing resources.
- Multiple lists including Top 10 books chosen by teen readers for each year and lists sorted by award winners
- Doesn’t suggest books based on personalized reading preferences
- Difficult to navigate – the page is filled with valuable information that I love perusing through, but I could see one of my students quickly getting sidetracked
YALSA offers a free app your students can download on any Android or iOS phone. While it doesn’t give recommendations based on reading preferences, it is an easily navigable platform filled with links to different books lists based on categories, genres, and other filters along with offering a daily “Top 3” feature.
4. Book Seer
Bare bones recommendation site that is linked to Amazon.
- Very clear and easy-to-use
- My students get a kick out of the old man
- Doesn’t always have results – I had been using The Book Thief for each of these sites, but Book Seer didn’t have an results for it, so I had to try The Outsiders instead.
5. Good Reads
Social Networking community of book lovers that provides a plethora of literary information.
- Lists, forums, polls, quotes, reviews, summaries….you will find everything here.
- Wonderful for avid readers – I have a few students who use this religiously, and one that even started a book review blog for her Good Reads followers!
- Has an app and is integrated with many social networking sites
- Can be overwhelming – I have tried for two years in a row to get a Goodreads community working in my classroom, but have found that many students get frustrated with the overload of information.
- Need to have an account to use, which isn’t always feasible with younger students
- There are ads
- Not targeted specifically for teens, so some content may be questionable
What do you think – did I miss any good resources? Send me a message or leave a comment; I’d love to hear about more options!
Also, check out my Battle of the Books post for an engaging way to encourage reading for fun in your classroom!
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