Making the Match: The Right Book for the Right Reader at the Right Time, Grades 4-12

Making the Match: The Right Book for the Right Reader at the Right Time, Grades 4-12

Making the Match: The Right Book for the Right Reader at the Right Time, Grades 4-12

Making the Match: The Right Book for the Right Reader at the Right Time, Grades 4-12


What do adolescents care about? Chatting on-line with friends, movies, their favorite bands... but many are also avid readers. What motivates some of these "typical teens" to become lifelong readers and others to slide by with the minimum amount of assigned reading? Teri Lesesne says the key is finding the books that get them hooked in the first place.

In Making the Match she focuses on three distinct areas that will assist teachers and librarians in steering students to the literature they love:

  • Knowing the readers: discussion of important theories in the development of adolescents (mentally, physically, morally, socially) and how that information helps educators to reach these kids with books. This background information is brought home through the book's "snapshots" which profile many of the adolescents the author has worked with.
  • Knowing the books: examination of the various forms, formats, and genres that YA literature has to offer, as well as what special challenges educators face when selecting quality nonfiction or realistic fiction, and the role picture books can play in this process.
  • Knowing the strategies: an overview of concrete ideas for motivating students to read as well as follow-up activities for post-reading assessment. Strategies discussed include reading aloud, booktalking, alternatives to traditional book reports, and literature circles.

A delightful feature of the book that will help inspire teachers and students alike- as well as underscore the concepts contained in the text- is a series of vignettes by popular, award-winning YA authors that offer glimpses into their own feelings and memories of books and reading. Authors include: Sharon Creech, Jack Gantos, Chris Crutcher, Mel Glenn, Paul Janeczko, and others.

The book concludes with an invaluable set of appendices providing an FAQ on YA literature, bibliographies of professional materials, books by the vignette authors, and over twenty booklists with hundreds of books organized by genre or topic, all with suggested grade levels.


For Christmas one year, I presented my then eleven-year-old granddaughter Corrie with a new book in the Darren Shan vampire series she had been reading. She opened the small package less eagerly than she had the brightly colored boxes containing her new CD player and the CDs to accompany it. It was easy to tell from the shape of the package that it was, after all, just a book. However, when Corrie saw the title she burst into tears! “This is the best gift I ever got,” she announced as she struggled to convey her pleasure. By the end of Christmas Day, Corrie had completed her first reading of the book. “Did you ever read a book that was perfect, one that you did not want to end?” she asked. As a lifetime reader, I knew exactly what Corrie meant. This book was the right book at the right time. In a few years, its memory would fade. Corrie might one day find it hard to explain why this book had meant so much to her. But, at the time, it was just the right book.

Okay, I can hear you saying, “But this was your granddaughter. Finding the right book at the right time for her was much easier than finding such books for all of my students.” Of course, there is some truth in that. However, my making the match for Corrie and your making the matches for your students are not terribly different. Making the match between book and reader relies on knowledge in three areas: knowing the reader, knowing the book, and knowing the techniques and strategies for bringing book and reader together. Over the more than twenty-five years I have been teaching, I have learned as much as I could about teens, books, and teaching strategies. I have had the good fortune to find good books and pair them with less-than-enthusiastic readers.

My first fifteen years of teaching were spent teaching English and reading to middle school students. In that time I encountered thousands of students. Some were gifted students who were already avid readers. Making the . . .

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