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Suggested Reading Lists

High School

During my ACT prep in-person, remote live, and online prep classes, I spend some time sharing books with students. Most high school students need to spend more time reading books, realize it, but do not know where to start.

Below are books that are at the ACT reading level or higher, so they will help develop the comprehension skills necessary to do better on any standardized test. However, I also picked a variety of books that will get students to think and potentially expand their perspectives.

This is part of an Amazon Affiliate Program, so simply click on the pictures to learn more about each book.

I have had many students over the years tell me that Freakonomics got them interested in reading again. If you like, Freakonomics, then You will enjoy Think Like a Freak.

Malcolm Gladwell’s writing have been used on the ACT and SAT. He has an engaging style that helps students stay interested in his books.

High school students should consider studying finances before making their first major investment – a college education. The Millionaire Next Door is a classic that shares principles that are still relevant today. Dave Ramsey’s books provide a common sense, down-to-earth approach to personal finances.

Capitalism is a very important part of American culture; it makes us unique as a country. When I taught in the public schools, I had some of my classes read books about Walmart and McDonald’s, and it changed how they viewed those businesses.

The first two books were recommended by ACT prep students at the time they were in my class. For students who need to “beef up” their scientific reading skills, these books can help. Both do a good job breaking up the scientific explanations with stories, making the books much easier to read. If you have a student that enjoys exercising, there are a lot of great books on the top.

I think these books should be required reading in high school. One of my former students had to read them for a college business course and then recommended them to me. Martin Lindstrom was one of the pioneers in app development. What he shares will shock and scare you, and, hopefully, make you more conscious of how you use social media.

If you participate on a speech team or just want to become a better presenter or writer, these books can help.

If you liked the movie The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock, then you will enjoy these books and then “hate” the movie. I think “I Beat the Odds” should be required reading in high school. During the first COVID lockdown, Greater was the most watched sport movie, but, again, the book is even better. Do not be fooled: these are not football books. These books center around young people who I believe are inspiring.

Stan Lee was the face of Marvel Comics. If you like superhero movies, you will enjoy this book. My daughters are fans of Fixer Upper and loved this book. One of my students recommended “Shoe Dog” and I was surprised about what I learned about Nike. Finding books about people your student might be interested can be a great way to get your student reading.

If you like history, these books will provide information you were not taught in school.

Most presidents write an autobiography when their term ends. President George W Bush did something different: He shared what was taking place behind the scenes when major decisions were being made because of 9-11 and how the aftermath dominated his presidency. If you like history and want to learn more about the first major terrorist attack on our home soil, this book is a must read.

Middle School

If you have middle school or young high school students looking for a good series that will get them to think, consider these mystery series. This is part of an Amazon Affiliate Program, so simply click on the pictures to learn more about each series.

Grade School

If you have younger readers who are beginning chapter books, the following are great series. This is part of an Amazon Affiliate Program, so simply click on the pictures to learn more about each series.


A great way to introduce a student to non-fiction is to start with the Who Was/Is, What Is, and Where Is series. These books are technically classified as middle school reading levels; however, high school students can use them to help adapt to a non-fiction writing style. I have had my daughters and sons read these books and I – as an adult who loves to read – have read quite a few of them as well.

For my older kids, I have them read the book over a two-day period. This guarantees they are reading about 20 minutes each day. This means they can read three of these books in one week (we take Sundays off).

Between all the series, there are over 400 titles. I selected a variety of books from each series to give you an idea of what they are like. This is part of an Amazon Affiliates Program, so simply click on a picture and you can learn more about that book and be connected to others with similar topics that can be found on Amazon’s website.


The following are book suggestions for parents related to a student’s college bound journey. Many of these books have been recommended to me by parents over those years. Although I may not agree with 100% of the views shared in some of the books, I found much of the content informative. This is part of an Amazon Affiliate Program, so simply click on the pictures to learn more about each book.