Choosing Books for a Middle Schooler

Tempt your preteen with a range of reading materials.



Choosing Books for a Middle Schooler

By now, your child is reading independently, both for school and for recreation. He's probably got a favorite genre and a few favorite authors. While encouraging your child to continue reading what he likes, it's a good idea to look for new books that will excite him, expand his horizons, and improve his vocabulary and reading comprehension skills.

  • Nonfiction and Biography
    At this age, your child is interested in learning how things work and about people who remind her of herself or whom she finds inspiring. Nonfiction books that answer questions about any interests, from frogs to monkeys to ancient Egypt to the way the human body works, as well as biographies about historical people, current athletes, and famous celebrities are good choices.
  • How-To Books
    Your middle schooler will relish the opportunity to learn to do something interesting and fun on his own. If he's fascinated with the circus, give him a book on magic or juggling. For gadget-lovers, consider a book on how to make crystal radios or conduct simple home experiments.
  • One Genre Over
    Expand your child's reading horizons by giving her a book in a slightly different genre than her favorite. For example, give a science fiction book to a fantasy lover. If she's crazy about baseball books, suggest a new sport or try to find a traditional young adult book with a character that loves running, such as Bridge to Terabithia. Continuing to expand her reading choices will introduce her to new subjects and ideas as well as keep her interested in finding new, interesting reading material.
  • Award Winners and Series
    The Newbery Award–winning books are generally written for an older elementary- and middle-school audience. Topics range from money and race issues to relationships and sickness, and can help your child understand changes and problems in his own life and the lives of those around him.
  • Magazines and Newspapers
    For a non-book option, get your tween a subscription to a few magazines that she enjoys and can look forward to receiving. Another great thing to do with your child is to read the newspaper together. You can discuss current events and help explain vocabulary as you build a great daily routine.
Reading Comprehension
Book Selection Tips
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Content Area Reading