These sites and resources are specifically geared to help teachers to select books and plan activities. They could also be useful for homeschooling families or summer classes. These are just thoughts and advice, and actual lesson plans and choices may rely on the requirements of your school system or educational program.

My site is always a work in progress, so there will be more here later.

Current Events and Issues in Education

Back to School, Back Together: Classroom Resources for Teachers and Students

“A new school year is upon us, and students are returning to the classroom—some for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic was declared in March 2020. How can educators and families navigate an uncertain landscape? To help everyone get off to a great start, the Yale Child Study Center + Scholastic Collaborative have created “Back to School, Back Together,” an online hub with SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) resources, stories of resilience, and expert insights.”

Bringing a Trauma-Informed Lens to Early Childhood Education

“Being mindful of the many difficulties the youngest students may be experiencing is one way teachers can help them weather the pandemic.”

Lesson Plans

Penguin School & Library Teacher and Librarian Resources

Offers free downloads of discussion guides for specific books. Also offers changing selection of webinars, virtual events, and contests where teachers can win prizes like books, supplies, and gift cards.

Teachers Pay Teachers

Buy lesson plans from other teachers on a variety of subjects, including activities and discussions related to books. Prices are fairly low but vary depending on the lesson plan or activity. If you have a particular book in mind, you can search for activities specifically related to that book.

General Advice for Books and Discussions

I’ve been making my own page of books that I think would be good for class discussions and activities, but I’m not a teacher, just a book enthusiast, so I’ve included information from sites by professional teachers. My list of Books for Class Discussions deliberately ignores some of the more popular and typical books that are often read in school, like Sarah, Plain and Tall and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, not because I don’t like them (I really do), but because other people have already covered those books very well, most teachers already know them and use them, and there are plenty of existing lesson plans based around them. I wanted to bring up some lesser-known books for a change of pace.

Below are resources from other sites about how to choose books and hold discussions.

10 Tips Experienced Teachers Have on Read-Alouds for New Teachers

Advice for reading aloud to students. From Scholastic’s The Teacher Store.

23 Teacher Tips for Asking Better Questions About Books

This is a guide from We Are Teachers to help teacher to prepare for and lead class book discussions.

It has a link to a list of 101 Chapter Books to Read (or Hear) Before You Grow Up to help teachers with selections of books to read, but I quibble with parts of the list because it doesn’t make an distinctions for age level and the person who assembled the list included many generally well-known titles without actually reading the books. The suggestions aren’t bad, but I think that knowing whether or not to introduce them to a class involves more in-depth knowledge of the books and a sense of their age-appropriateness. Some books can be really great and have fascinating themes, but if they’re too complicated for the kids to understand at their age and are unrelatable, they’re not going to be much help. On the one hand, I felt like some of the suggestions were kind of generic award-winners that weren’t really suggested for reasons other than that, but on the other, the writer does bring up a few lesser-known titles that I can tell were recommended because the writer actually knows them and loves them. Those are the suggestions that I think are the most worth taking, especially for kids who are old enough to understand them.

Guided Reading Book Lists for Every Level

Organized by both grade level (K-6) and guided reading level (A-Z). From Scholastic’s The Teacher Store.

How to Pick the Perfect Nonfiction Books

Advice for helping students to develop their curiosity and discover new interests. From Scholastic’s The Teacher Store.

Students with Disabilities

Books For Students with Disabilities

18 of the Best Books for Autistic Children

From Book Riot.

Best Books for Students who are DHH

A list of books for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, spanning a range of ages. These are books to read or have read to them. Some are about the subject of being deaf or hard of hearing itself, but not all.

Low Vision, High Contrast: Books for Kids That Need Contrasting Colors

Picture books with illustrations that include highly contrasting colors help children with low vision and other visual conditions. This page also cites Recommending Books for Kids with Low Vision from the ALSC Blog.

Speech and Language Children’s Books

Books about issues with speech, language, communication, and speech therapy, divided into categories, such as stammering, speech delay, selective mutism, and emotional well-being.

Books About People with Disabilities

Disability in YA & Middle Grade Historical Fiction

A list of historical fiction books with characters who have disabilities of various kinds. They are not specifically geared to be read by students with disabilities, but they offer insight into disabilities of different kinds, how they would have been viewed in different time periods, and how people may have coped with them in the past.

Disabilities are a natural part of the human condition and have existed all throughout human history. Human beings are imperfect and have limits, and some have conditions that impose more limits or challenges than others. We know that human beings of the past were sometimes blind or deaf, were unable to walk unaided, or suffered from various health conditions. Over time, we have come to understand many of these conditions better and have developed new ways to handle them, but acknowledging that disabilities and imperfections are timeless and that the humans of the past were just as human as the humans of the present may give students perspective and a greater sense of empathy, whether they have disabilities themselves or not.

Mystery Genre

Good for demonstrating the use of critical thinking skills.

The 100 Best Children’s and YA Mysteries of the Past 10 Years

Because my site is geared specifically for nostalgic books that are at least 10 years old, it’s going to be awhile before some of these end up on this site.  The article was written in 2015.  If you’re looking for a relatively recent mystery, you might try here.

Mysteries in the Classroom

Has descriptions of recommended mystery books of all levels, fiction and nonfiction (some of them are also covered on this site) plus suggestions for related activities.

Historical Genre

Some of these articles do not provide a list of suggested books, but I have my own list of Historical Fiction by Period (which also has some sections of additional resources about each time period, some associated non-fiction books, and some related subjects and activities).

About Using Historical Fiction

Common Core and the Challenge of Historical Fiction in the Classroom

Reasons to use historical fiction in the classroom.

Vitamins in Chocolate Cake: Why Use Historical Fiction in the Classroom?

Thoughts about supplementing lessons with historical fiction.

Historical Fiction Books

Some sites also have related non-fiction books.

World History Books

Children’s historical fiction and non-fiction, listed by topic. These lists were created by teachers.

Disability in YA & Middle Grade Historical Fiction

A list of historical fiction books with characters who have disabilities of various kinds. They are not specifically geared to be read by students with disabilities, but they offer insight into disabilities of different kinds, how they would have been viewed in different time periods, and how people may have coped with them in the past.

Disabilities are a natural part of the human condition and have existed all throughout human history. Human beings are imperfect and have limits, and some have conditions that impose more limits or challenges than others. We know that human beings of the past were sometimes blind or deaf, were unable to walk unaided, or suffered from various health conditions. Over time, we have come to understand many of these conditions better and have developed new ways to handle them, but acknowledging that disabilities and imperfections are timeless and that the humans of the past were just as human as the humans of the present may give students perspective and a greater sense of empathy, whether they have disabilities themselves or not.

Books and Movies

I have lists of books with movie versions on my site, including Disney movies, Studio Ghibli movies, and others (including some that are short films) for people who like to both read the book and watch the movie to compare them. My lists are more general interest rather than oriented to school and educational setting, but they could provide some inspiration.

Below are other lists and sources of information on books and movies.

Movies Based on Books

You can browse this list by age group.

Teachable movies for elementary and middle school classrooms

This is a book on Internet Archive. You would need an account on Internet Archive to borrow and read the book, but accounts on Internet Archive are completely free and easy to set up. You can read the basic description and contents list without an account. The movies described in the book are popular classics and many of them are based on books, which is why I mention the book here. Each movie in the book has a brief description and notes about themes for classroom discussions and activities. None of the sections are very long because about half the space is dedicated to leaving room for teachers to make their own notes in the book. Part of the introduction to the book is out of date because the book is from the 1990s and talks about VHS cassettes, but there are some helpful tips for previewing a movie and planning lessons and discussions around it.

Books Related to Other School Subjects

People often think of books as just reading books, but some fiction books can also be used to teach other subjects, illustrating concepts found in science and mathematics.

The Best Children’s Books for Early Math Learning

Picture books that can be used to emphasize mathematical concepts for young children and beginning readers. The books are organized by mathematical concept, including counting, operations, measurement, pattern recognition, shapes, and spatial relationships. From the Erikson Institute.

Reading Books Online

There are a few places where you or your students can read books for free online. This is helpful both for providing a variety of reading books, particularly ones that can be difficult to find any other way, and for allowing you to try books you’re considering before using them with your students. If you’re a homeschooling parent or just helping a small number of children with online classes, it’s even possible that these resources could take care of your book needs by themselves. Some of these resources also include audio versions, which can be helpful if you’re working with a visually-impaired student.

Bookshare

“Bookshare makes reading easier. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading.”

Bookshare requires signing up for an account to access books. Schools and students in the United States can sign up for the service for free. Other individuals in the United States and other countries can also use the service for a fee, varying by location.

Internet Archive

“A non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.”  It’s free to use, but it requires you to sign up for an account.  It has more than just public domain books.  Various organizations, such as libraries and book-selling companies, have donated scanned copies of many books and also various audio recordings, some software (such as old computer games), and other materials.  There is even help for users with print disabilities.  Patrons may borrow up to 5 items at a time, and books can be borrowed for up to 14 days, with the option to renew. Recently, they made a change where they have books that you only borrow for an hour at a time because they figured out that’s about how long people spend read these books, and it helps keep them in circulation. However, if you borrow a book for only an hour, you can re-borrow it when your hour is up if you want to keep reading. When your time is up, the book simply disappears from your list of loans, so there are no late fees. You can also turn in books early if you’re done with them and want to get something else.  Patrons can also place holds on books which are currently being loaned. There are multiple copies of many popular books. Most of the books in the library are in English because this library is based in California, but there are also copies of books in different languages.

Lit2Go

An online collection of public domain works by the University of South Florida. The description on the main page states:

“Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format. An abstract, citation, playing time, and word count are given for each of the passages. Many of the passages also have a related reading strategy identified. Each reading passage can also be downloaded as a PDF and printed for use as a read-along or as supplemental reading material for your classroom. “

The collection contains more than children’s literature and is free for the public to use. You can listen to the audio version of a book while reading the text version of a book in your browser at the same time. You can search for books by author, title, genre (broad categories such as mystery, adventure, fantasy, and horror), collection (shows specific topics such as African-American Literature, The Princess Collection for stories about princesses, or specific series such as the Oz books or the Lang Fairy Books), or reading difficulty according to the Flesch-Kincaid grade level system. If you are looking for older children’s books or books from classic literature, like Sherlock Holmes stories, Dracula, A Christmas Carol, or Black Beauty, you can find them here! The site has works by Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and other famous authors.

Project Gutenberg

Provides free e-books of books that are in the public domain. This site is useful for finding older books, like ones from the 1920s and earlier.  Some of the older vintage series described on my site are here. There is no need to sign up for an account. There is no limit on the number of people who can read the same books at one time. E-books are available in multiple formats.

Funding Resources

Raise Funds for Your Classroom or Support a Teacher With ClassroomsCount™

“Teachers can start a campaign to get books, magazines, and products in students’ hands.”

From Scholastic.