Recommended Trade Books for Adult Literacy Programs

General Suggestions

We selected books that we believe to be outstanding, but we strongly recommend that you read the books yourself before using them in your programs. (If titles are not available in your public library, a librarian can help you obtain them through inter-library loan.) As you decide about using each title, we recommend that you think about your students and the way your instructional program is organized. These individual differences may affect both the books you choose and the ways in which the books are used in your program. A matrix has been developed to facilitate the use of thematic text sets in developing lesson plans appropriate for GED preparation and/or general instruction.

Here are several ways to use these books instructionally:

  • read a book or portion of a book (i.e., some poems, a short story) aloud at each instructional session. These read-alouds may be connected to themes or units of study, they may be followed by writing or discussion, or they may simply be for enjoyment.

  • make books available for your students to read individually. You might establish a sustained silent reading (SSR) period in your program, for example, or you might simply have books available for learners to peruse during their free time.

  • collect books related to themes or units of study, and use these to supplement instruction. For example, as part of a study of World War II, you could assemble books from the list that take place during that time period. Individual students could read individual titles and share insights with the group. Some of the titles could also be used as read-alouds or become the focus of small group activity.

  • use a novel for the entire class (or a small group) to read and discuss. Many of the novels included in the list can be used this way.

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