Choosing Literature Part 2: The Reading List

Last week, we wrote the introduction to this blog post. Originally, we were super excited to pull this post together and provide it and then we realized through several conversations, that no one would really get why we were pulling together these books.

One of the main reasons lies in the scope of paraeducator’s daily jobs. Ultimately, it isn’t their job to choose a book for an ELA intervention. But they still might recommend a book for students to read at the library for a silent reading book. Or maybe this book is related to something they are reading. Either way, every year, especially in middle and high school, there are all these extra literature books to help extend a student’s reading. But for some students, those extra books aren’t always appropriate. Or they do not have an alternative reading book or maybe, for a host of reasons the student is not included in their general education English class. And that’s okay because we can look at this list of things we can do outside of what might parallel to a general education reading. This works with corrective reading strategies, adds to a student’s written work and encourages the interest in reading.

Reaching for a popular literature book gives a student a feeling of belonging. After all, even if their peer may have read that book a few years prior, there will be an opportunity for the student to have a conversation about the book—“Remember when you read that book? What did you think about the time when the character did ‘x’.” [Suggestion: give this as an assignment to a known friendly student to ask peers. It’s not great, but it’s a door opener for some students.]

The following list is not an entire list of books that could be paired with their movies. This is a list that focuses on finding a high/low reading list. We were quite selective with movies and books, there are many, but not all of the movies and books pair well. Our “Suggested Grades” are based on general reading ages of similar if not the books themselves.


Title & Author AR Level Movie Title (Year) Suggested Grades
The Secret Garden

Francis Hogan Burnett

6.8 The Secret Garden (1993) [G] 5th and up
Hunger Games

Susan Collins

5.3 Hunger Games (2012) [PG-13] 6th and up
Catching Fire

Susan Collins

7.0 Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) [PG-13] 6th and up

Susan Collins

5.3 Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 (2014) [PG-13]

Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2 (2015) [PG-13]

8th and up
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl

5.9 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) [G]


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) [PG]

3rd and up
Maze Runner

James Dashner

5.3 Maze Runner (2014) [PG-13] 8th and up
Scorch Trials

James Dashner

5.0 Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (2015) [PG-13] 8th and up
The Fault In Our Stars

John Green

5.5 The Fault In Our Stars (2014) [PG] 9th and up
Flowers for Algernon

Daniel Keyes

5.8 Charley (1968) [PG] 8th and up
The Giver

Lois Lowery

5.7 The Giver (2014) [PG] 8th and up
The Bridge to Terabithia

Katherine Patterson

4.6 The Bridge to Terabithia (2007) [PG] 5th and up
Freak, the Mighty

Rodman Philbrick

5.5 The Mighty (1998) [PG] 5th and up
The Lightening Thief

Rick Riordan

4.7 Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief  8th and up

Veronica Roth

4.8 Divergent (2014) [PG-13] 9th and up

Veronica Roth

5.0 Divergent: Insurgent (2015) [PG-13] 9th and up

Veronica Roth

5.7 Divergent: Allegiant (2016)

Divergent: Ascendant

9th and up

Louis Sacher

4.8 Holes (2003) [PG] 3rd and up

Wendelin Van Draanen

4.8 Flipped (2010) [PG] 6th and up



Title AR Level Movie Suggested Grades
Diary of Anne Frank 5.9 Diary of Anne Frank (choose any, they’re all really good) 8th and up
Miracle Worker 5.2 Miracle Worker

(choose any, they are all good)

8th and up

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