Strategy 13: Encourage Outside Reading!

Keep trade books in your room and make opportunities for students to read them. Trade books are more engaging and more relevant than textbooks, and go into more depth in suitable ways. It’s important to include a variety of materials with a wide range of reading levels – students are much more likely to engage in reading if the text appeals to their interest and is at the appropriate reading level for them.

For students who are reading several years behind their current grade, you should consider using trade books matched to their reading levels instead of the class textbook. These can help them learn content, while at the same time supporting the reading intervention they might be receiving outside of class.

Some ways to promote student interest in trade books include:
  • Share your favorite trade books with your class. Read passages aloud that relate to what you’re studying.
  • Spend some time each month introducing new books that you’ve added to your classroom library. Picture books are especially interesting for whole-class book talks.
  • Give students who read the same book opportunities to discuss the book.

Work with your school librarian to find a variety of engaging books related to what you’re teaching. Media Center staff might enjoy doing some book talks for you. The book Subjects Matter: Every Teacher's Guide to Content-Area Reading by Daniels and Zemelman has a nice list of trade books for content-area reading on p.71.

Content area associations also provide lists of good trade books:
For science, see NSTA’s Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, at They publish a new list of great books for students every year, going back to1996.
For mathematics, see NCTM’s The Wonderful World of Mathematics: A Critically Annotated List of Children's Books in Mathematics, Second Edition (Stock #673).

Assignment: In the discussion tab for this page, list some of your favorite trade books for the subjects you teach. Or write about how they fit into your curriculum. Many teachers of mathematics, science and social studies say they have too much content in the GLCEs and HSCEs to use trade books - what do you say to that?