How to Create a Summer Reading List You’ll Love

Advice that can help you create a summer reading list you'll enjoy while challenging yourself, too.

By Tiffany Sorensen, Varsity Tutors' Contributor

June 08, 2016

How to Create a Summer Reading List You’ll Love

Summer reading does not have to be a bore. Although it should be instructive, you should choose books that will also hold your interest.

Follow the advice below to create a summer reading list that will be a pleasure rather than a chore.

1. Explore books by genre

First, think about which genres of books you tend to like the most. Are you intrigued by biographies, historical fiction, fantasies, or mysteries? If you do not know which genres you like, look up a list of common genres and see if any catch your attention based on their descriptions.

Alternatively, you can look up books you have enjoyed in the past to see which genre they fall under and use that information as a jumping-off point. At the end of many books there are suggestions for further reading; you may wish to browse these suggestions to give yourself ideas, as well.

2. Speak to a librarian

Nobody knows books like a librarian does! Librarians are your most valuable resource when it comes to choosing your next read; they have had extensive training in library science, many at the college level.

In addition to knowing how to search for books using databases and catalogues, they also understand how the library is organized. Librarians can point you to new releases, bestsellers, and age-appropriate material. Also, some libraries may already have premade lists of summer reading suggestions for high schoolers.

3. Talk to your English teacher

Your English teacher is familiar with your personal reading and writing level, as well as with your personality and state testing standards. He or she can steer you in the right direction regarding which books will be appropriately challenging and interesting to you.

Remember, summer reading should be both fun and educational. A book that is only fun will not prepare your mind for the upcoming school year, and a book that is only educational might lead you to give up before you finish reading it. Your English teacher can help you find the right balance for summer reading, so be sure you speak before the school year ends.

4. Browse bestseller lists

Another fantastic way to gain ideas for your summer reading list is by browsing bestseller lists.

The New York Times, Amazon, Publishers Weekly, NPR, and Barnes & Noble, for example, are known for the bestseller lists they compile on a regular basis.

Bestseller lists are based on the number of book copies sold, which means they represent the most popular and beloved reads of current times. It is probable you will find a book you love from a bestseller list if so many other people enjoy it, too.

Just be aware that books on bestseller lists may be more interesting than they are challenging. Not all of your summer reading has to be difficult, but you should try to achieve a proper balance between hard and enjoyable.

To create a compelling summer reading list, rely on your own instincts and on the advice of experts. Think about your taste in literature while taking into account what your English teacher and librarian propose. The key to forming the perfect summer reading list is combining intriguing works with works that teach you something.

Tiffany Sorensen is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

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