Each year the International Literacy Association (previously known as the International Reading Association) publishes three Choices Reading Lists which identify the choicest books published within the last year as selected by three groups: children, teens and professionals. The Choices Reading Lists offer titles and brief teaser-descriptions of the books that are surefire winners for those three populations.
As I read through this year’s three lists, with their very brief synopses, I thought to myself that it would be fun for ME to read all of the choice books each year. Given the frequency with which anyone is asked about book recommendations for reluctant or struggling readers, these recommendations from three different juries are great to share with folks who are seeking to hook their children (or themselves) on books and reading.
I firmly believe that developing self-selecting, avid readers is the single most important goal of any enlightened literacy program. The road to achieve this goal—to move non- or reluctant-readers to avid readers—must be paved with books that provide children with the vision of just how wonderful and rewarding lifelong reading can be.
The books on the 2019 Children’s Choices List were selected by over 12,000 children who have read from the 900 or so books published each year for those in Kindergarten through 2nd grade. These beginning readers, if encouraged to seek out and select books that their peers have chosen, can easily be placed onto the path to reading independence. The layering-on of continually high-quality books, narrative and non-fiction, identified by their peers can form a path toward lifelong literacy that is wide and deep.
Depending upon the resources of a school or its community, several dozen of the Choices List books for children could be added each year to the local school and public libraries so that within a few years, a collection of more choice books than could even be read in a single year can be available for each child to have at their fingertips throughout those primary years.
The Teachers’ Choices List includes books aimed at student from Kindergarten to 8th grade. The books on this list are recommend with confidence by education professionals who have seen the impact of the selected books on a range of children.
The Young Adults’ Choices have been selected by professionals who work with teens who are at the points in their lives where time for reading and reflection can quickly be squeezed out by a range of other pursuits. That makes this collection particularly important as a resource for families and faculties committed to maintaining the culture of reading to continue the growth of kids into lifelong readers and learners.
I readily recommend that these lists be adopted by schools and distributed to guide family participation in literacy development. You can help by choosing to share the identified choice books with children in your circle of influence.