Literature Ladders

Step 1: Select a Book

How do I find out what other people are reading?
Where can I find online reading materials?
How can I get my young people involved with reviewing books?

The Internet is a great tool for finding new book titles or interesting literature you may not have considered in the past. It's also a nice place to browse and look for connections.

You can build literature connections for any type of reading material. Use the Internet to locate quality reading materials for children and young adults. For instance, you might be interested in Graphic Novels. Go to Comics, Graphic Novels, and Sequential Art for lots of ideas. The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola is an example of a picture book that uses a sequential art approach.

Explore the following resources on this page: Book Browsing Websites, Award-winning Books, Read Aloud Books, Book Review Projects, Online Books and Reading, and Book Databases and Book lists.

Book Browsing Websites

If you'd just like to check for books on a particular topic, a shopping site is an easy place to start.

Also try some of the new social networks where people share their passion for books:

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Award-winning Books

From the Caldecott and Newbery Medals to the Pulitzer Prize there are many exciting awards given each year for books and other types of written work for quality children's, young adult, and adult writing and illustrations. Keep in mind that a book doesn't need to be on a special list to be great.

eye for essential readingRead Stephen King's Acceptance Speech at the National Book Awards. He shares his experiences as a writer and his concerns about the line between "popular" and "literary" works. What do you think about this debate? Do you think he deserved the award? Why or why not? You can also listen or watch part of the speech. You might also want to check out some of the past winners and their speeches.

Explore book awards. Look for awards that might be new to you. Keep an open mind.

Teacher Tap icon Go to Book Awards from Teacher Tap
Go to Caldecott Connections.

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Read-Aloud Books

Consider the books you could read aloud in your library or classroom. Also, think about using Books on CD, tape, or MP3

eye indicated essential readingJim Trelease's Site
Explore information on good read-aloud books.

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Book Review Projects

Create and submit your own book reviews. Some also contain online stories, poems, and editorials by students.

Teacher Tap iconGo to Book Review Projects from Teacher Tap

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Online Books and Reading

Explore online reading including interactive stories, articles, and books. Involve readers in writing stories including adding to stories, writing new endings, creating illustrations, and facilitating discussions.

Teacher Tap iconGo to Online Books and Online Reading from Teacher Tap

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Book Databases and Book Lists

If you can't decide on a book, use the following resources to identify materials.

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Try It!
Once you've located a book, enjoy! Take some notes as your read. Develop an overview page that contains the title, author, illustrator, award, grade level, and summary. Think about questions you'd like to ask the author. How does the background of the author impact their writing?

Brainstorm questions related to the people, places, and issues presented in the book.
Would it be helpful to learn more about the setting of the book?
What about the problems that the characters face?
Are there words or situations in the book that might be unfamiliar to students?


Set up a LibraryThing account. You can add notes, links, and also post books reviews.

Go to Step 2: Search for Author and Illustrator Information


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