In this post I am sharing five websites to help students find their next read. You can use these websites yourself or you can teach students how to use them. Either way, they are one more tool that you can use to help encourage a culture of reading with your students.
What should I read next? How many times have you been asked this question? I’m sure the number is in the thousands. And it is one of the most important questions we are asked. Helping students to find a book that they will love and want to read is one of the main reasons I became a librarian. I’m sure that’s true for many of you as well.
And I will admit that sometimes this question can create some anxiety for me. Recommending a book to a child is a huge responsibility. I’m always afraid that if I don’t find “the” book the student is looking for that there is a chance they won’t come back. And while I will never give up until every child has found a book they enjoy, I know that many students will give up.
DoGo Books – Book reviews for Kids, By Kids
This site contains book reviews for kids written by kids, which is one of the best websites to help students find their next read. On the home page are sections for recent book reviews, reviews of newly published books and popular books. All of the reviews have a star rating. Students can search for a specific book or browse books by genre or grade level.
When you click on a book title you will see a summary of the book followed by any reviews kids have written about the book. Here is an example of the book Bailey’s Story by W. Bruce Cameron.
Another nice feature is the option to preview the book. I’m not sure if all the books have this feature, but all the ones I looked at did.
No account is required to use most of the features including searching and browsing book reviews and even posting your own review. I am not sure exactly how their process works, but once a student writes a review a message pops up that says the review will show up on the site after it is approved. You can also respond to someone else’s review but an account is required for that.
The only advertisements I saw were from book publishers who are advertising their books. There is a link to purchase the book on Amazon as well.
There are some options to integrate the content into Google Classroom. They also offer quizzes as well but I have not looked at any of those options. Overall I think this is an excellent website that you can feel comfortable sending your students to.
Reading Rockets – Searching by genres and other filters
You can use Reading Rockets book finder tool to search for books in a variety of different ways, limit the search to age level or format, and search a specific genre or by topic. For example, a student can search for a fiction chapter book about magic or scary stories. There are a lot of options for students to choose from.
Also, one of my favorite features is the ability to search by country or region. You can choose to search for books about Afghanistan or Israel or Latin America. What a fabulous way to find multicultural literature from all over the world.
Book Finder – Search by age and other filters
Students of all ages and grades can look for books on this site. It is one of the only websites to help students find their next read from the UK, so some of the spellings will be different. You know kids will pick up on that right away!
You can search by age and then by genre or type of book.
A good list of books comes up, however I don’t feel that they are all age-appropriate. Below is a search I did for ages 5-8 scary stories. There are a few that I would not recommend to a student in this age group (Flesh and Blood or Tales of Terror for example). However I do think this is a useful site, especially for upper elementary.
Reading In Action – Books reviews by educational staff
I love this website. I just happened to find it when doing a Google search. It is from the Fresno County Office of Education. This note is taken directly from their homepage.
All books on this site are read and reviewed by the library staff at Fresno County Office of Education to ensure quality and age appropriateness and only positive reviews are published. It is our hope to foster a love of reading in the children that visit Reading in Action.
We read and review the latest and award-winning titles in children’s’ and young adult fiction and non-fiction to assist students in their independent reading selections. Books can be searched by topic and age level for classroom use.
What is really awesome about this site is that all of the book reviews are read by a staff member. I LOVE this. They call them bookcasts.
Below is the book Dreamers by YuYi Morales. There is the book cover, the book description and the audio clip of the book review. Underneath are related bookcasts and a YouTube video about the book. The videos I watched all appear to be from the publisher or author.
Juvenile Series and Sequels – Search just for series books
This last website is only for books that are part of a series, which is located on the homepage for the Mid-Content Library System in Missouri. It is very comprehensive database.
You can search by series title, subject, book title or author. Or you can just browse. There is also an option to limit the series by reading level.
Once you select a series to look at you are only provided with a list of all the books in that series. There is no additional information provided about any of the titles. The “find it” button will let you search the library catalog (which of course is not helpful for our purposes) or search on amazon or goodreads. Below is the search results for Puppy Place. Only the first 14 books are shown in the screenshot, the complete list is given on the site.
This site may be more helpful for librarians and teachers than students, but it is still a handy tool to help you search for not only all the titles in a series but also the order of those books.
Finally, I know that many other public libraries have similar databases and resources so make sure you check out what is available through your local branches.
I hope you and your students find these websites helpful. Are there any other websites to help students find their next read that you would add to the list? Drop a comment and let us know.