How to create a reading list: our top tips

Over the holidays, children up and down the country, free from the shackles of the classroom for six glorious weeks, enjoy their free time and soak up the summer! In amongst all the excitement, the summer is also the perfect opportunity to create a reading list for your new pupils to sink their teeth into.

A reading list is very much a personal item: one teacher’s book list will differ greatly from their colleague’s. This can help to introduce your pupils to new genres or authors – and hopefully find new interests! Here are some top tips for creating your own reading list.

Look around

What are your children reading? Which children’s books line the shelves of Waterstones? These contemporary novels can provide a nice contrast to the classics

Or, have a look at other reading lists. They’re a great way to get some inspiration and see which authors and titles are popular.


As a teacher, you need to have read the books that you’re planning on encouraging the children to read. Not only is this a great way to reflect on what your class will be reading, it’s also a highly enjoyable experience (especially if you’re re-reading your favourites!).

Don’t create separate lists for boys and girls

If a book is well-written and enjoyable, differentiating by gender does your pupils a major injustice.

Try to avoid separating the list out in order of difficulty

Children who may not be confident readers may still want to listen to an adult or a peer reading out loud from a book which they may not be able to access on their own. If the titles are listed from easiest to hardest, they’re unlikely to look at the bottom half of the list.

Ask your pupils for feedback

What have they read that they think deserves to make the list? Are there any books which are really popular in bookstores but which don’t quite grab the children’s attention in the way that they had hoped?

Share your list

Share your list with your pupils, their parents, teachers in the school, all over Twitter, or in any teacher groups you’re in!

Introduce some competition

If your class are motivated by competition and rewards, perhaps devise a points scoring system. Why not separate the books into different categories and award children points for reading titles from genres they wouldn’t usually explore!

Publicise what your class are reading

Create a book review display board and ask children to contribute, writing reviews of what they have read and drawing pictures of their favourite characters.  

Although having a list of titles doesn’t replace the ability to recommend additional books to children based on their personal favourites, it can be a great help – especially as time in a primary classroom can be limited!  

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