Let's find a good book!

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SWBAT choose a book online based on several criteria using various websites and make a choice from the library by looking at how characters and ideas change in the text.

Big Idea

Use some great websites to search for books and learn how to find a good book in your library!


  • selection of books from the library for the students to choose – range of reading abilities  (informational text or literature)
  • Ipads/computers with internet access
  • 'Finding a good book' worksheet
  • My ‘Wish List’ paper (optional - see reflection)
  • Lesson vocabulary words from the Reading/Writing word wall: literature, informational text
  • Ipad Rules for review
  • whiteboard set up


I chose to do several lessons about choosing a good book because my students tend to just grab a book at the library based on the cover and then find it's too hard to read or that's not something they are really interested in. By using this website and teaching them how to choose a good book at the beginning of the year, my hope is that they'll choose books that are at their reading level and in their interest range throughout the year when we go to the library.

Take a few moments to try out the Book Adventures website.  I chose it because it does not require a log-in and password and was easy to use.  Once I demonstrated it for my students, they easily maneuvered through it to find a book.

Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.


Explain the task

  • "I need some help today because I need a new book. Where can I look?"  Take answers and ideas.
  • "I could look in the library - that's a good idea. We look for books every week at library time.  Could I also look on the internet-the Ipad or the computer?  Have you ever done that? Which is a better way?"
  • "I need some help finding a book for myself. I'll use the library and a website on the computer/Ipad.  If you can help me, then I'll give you a chance to find a good book for yourself!"

Teachers' Turn

20 minutes

Explain the task

  • "I brought out some good books for you to read today.  I'll hold each one up and see if you want to read it." Bring out a large variety of books and have the kids vote which they should read (of course, there will be disparity - good starting point for the discussion).
  • "Wow, everyone has a different opinion.  How do we choose a good book for ourselves? Can we go to the library and look?  How do you choose books? Should we always pick books from the same author or about the same subject?"


This may prompt a quick discussion on book variety.  The Common Core State Standards focus on students reading a ‘broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts’. These should include stories, poetry, and informational text in the grades 2-3 text complexity band with scaffolding a the high end of the range. (RL.2.10, RI.2.10).  It is worth discussing with the students the idea of choosing a wider variety of books, such of which are challenging for them.


  • "Let's talk about finding a book at the library.  What is a good way to get a book that is easy enough for you to read? How do you know that you understand the book?"  Take ideas - encourage looking at book features - characters, illustrations, genre, theme, main idea, etc. Using text features to locate information (and ultimately evaluate the book for comprehension)**
  • "Let's look 2 ways to find a good book. We'll choose a literature book and an informational text."


Model the strategy

  • "There is a '5 finger rule' that I want to share with you."
    • "When you look for a book, you should use the 5 finger rule to see if it’s a good book for you."
    • Pick a book and read the second page. 
    • "Put up a finger each time that you read a word you don't know."
    • "If you have more than 5 fingers up, the book is too hard."
  • “Hold up your hands and help me check out this literature book that I brought.” Demonstrate with a harder chapter book.  “Ok, that's too hard for me. Let me try another book. I only put up one finger so I can read that. Let me think about the words and illustrations."
    • "Do I like the characters and illustrations?"
    • "Is this a genre that I like?" 
    • "Did I understand the ideas?"
    • "Can I read it smoothly?"
    • "Is this an interesting topic for me?  If you answered "yes", then you have chosen a good book! I'll write that on the whiteboard as a good literature choice."
  • "Another way to find a book is to use a book search website."
  • "Let me show you a website that helps you look for appropriate books to read.  It's called 'Book Adventure'. I'll look for informational text." 
  •  Here's teacher demonstration of website use.
    • Click "Find a book" (you don't need to log in)
    • Choose your grade level from the drop down menu
    • Choose a level of difficulty (let's start with "books at my grade level"
    • Choose fiction or non-fiction (genre)
    • Choose a subject
    • Click "search"
  • "I can see a list of books that might interest me.  You can click on the title and then click again on the book icon to see a better description. Use the back button to go back until you find a book that you like. I like this one - I'll write that one the whiteboard."


I love the ‘genre’ selections in both of these search sections.  My students were not very familiar with the term, but it’s a great starting point to later discussions.  The Common Core State Standards encourage  ‘extensive reading of stories, dramas, poems, and myths’ – i.e. a variety of genre.

The Students' Take a Turn

20 minutes

Explain the task

  • "Now it’s your turn to find some good books!  Your job is to find 2 books today and list them on your page."
  • Pass out the student worksheet.
  • "First use the 5 finger rule to find a book from my collection.  When you find one that you like and is a good choice, list the title on the paper. Remmeber to look INSIDE the book at the characters, words, illustrations, etc."
  • "Then use the Ipad/Computer to search on the Book Adventures website.  Find a book that interests you and is at good level and write the title on the paper." 
  • "Raise your hand when you're done and I'll come check your paper." 
  • "I'll give you 15 minutes to list the 2 books and then we'll follow up your thoughts...."


Students work

Apply the Knowledge

10 minutes

Reflect and Discuss  

  • "Let's compare the 2 methods of finding a good book."
  • "Raise your hand if you liked the "5 finger rule. Raise your hand if you liked the website search."
  • "Here's a quick Venn Diagram to compare how the 2 searches are the same or different." I drew a Venn Diagram on the board.
    • "I could see the book from the library." I'll write that. Many of you said that the website was more fun."  Other ideas?"   
    • My students added.... 
    • 'it was hard to know hoow easy the book was from the website'
    • 'the website had lots of books, but they are not in my library'
    • 'it was hard to find a book that I liked from the class library."


Sum up the lesson

  • "Both ways of "finding a good book" are good."
  • "In the future, when we go to the library at school, you can use the '5 finger rule'.  
  • "Maybe when you're choosing a book from the book order or thinking about a holiday present, you could use the search on the website."


Scaffolding and Special Education - This lesson could be scaffolded for students who are at a variety of reading levels.

For those that struggle, provide books that on the easier end of 2nd grade or possibly at the end of 1st grade. Encourage them to use the 'below level' choice on the website.

For those higher readers, have them choose books that are on the upper end of 2nd grade or possibly 3rd grade. They could use the 'above level' choice on the website.