Children & Young Adults Resources

Community and School Common Reads Programs promote literacy and foster a sense of community, when a grade, school, town, or city reads the same book and participates in discussions and related activities during the school year or for summer reading. The programs require books with big ideas that will engage young readers, and we’ve curated a list of titles and themes to meet your needs.

If you cannot find an answer to your questions on this page, please email us at: commonreads@penguinrandomhouse.com

TIPS FOR CREATING A SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM
  • Define an audience for your program.
  • Identify needs, create plans, and predict the impact that your program will have on your school or community.
  • Put together a planning committee dedicated to launching the program, including school faculty, students, parents, and community leaders when applicable.
  • Make a weekly or monthly checklist that is practical and useful.
  • Determine how your school or library will fund the project. Look to municipal organizations in your town, city, or state, or a local bookstore, for financial support
  • Based on popular community interests, issues, and values, choose a book that fits your needs. Click here for our curated list of titles for young readers as a starting point. Many of these books have associated Educators’ Guides or Discussion Guides that can be downloaded as PDF files from this site.
  • Think about the following questions when considering eligible books for your program:
    • Does the book tell a good story?
    • Is the book accessible? Will a variety of students at different reading levels and with different interests be able to engage with the book?
    • Does it feature a protagonist who students can relate to? They might be the same age or dealing with similar life situations (change, challenge, adversity).
    • Does the book touch on teachable themes, such as inclusiveness/diversity, global engagement, etc.?
    • Do the themes of the book correspond to your school’s strategic mission?
  • Whether you are inviting an author, partnering with a theater for a production, or displaying artwork at an exhibit in town, think about ways to incorporate community organizations in your event.
  • Engage members of your community to use their talents and resources to get involved in the program.
  • Have participating schools decorate doors and hallways to depict a theme or scene from the selected title.

We have found that a common reading program can be very successful when it involves the hosting and participation of the author.

Many authors are available for a school or community visit, and we at Penguin Random House would be happy to assist you with booking inquiries. Please feel free to email us: commonreads@penguinrandomhouse.com

  • Create a team of people to publicize the program alongside your library or school staff.
  • Use digital and social media to your advantage. Use your school’s or district’s existing social media website or account (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), or create a dedicated page for your common reading program to build a community around the book selection, author visit, and other programming activities. Many authors, publishers, and lecture agencies have existing material that can be posted to your community page.
  • Public libraries and independent bookstores are a great fit for marketing community reads events and distributing promotional materials. Below please find a list of possible program partners you might approach in your community:
    • Theater companies
    • Art galleries
    • Museums
    • Reader’s theater ensembles
    • Literacy organizations
    • Local businesses
    • Minority group associations
    • City council
    • Elected officials (state and U.S. representatives/senators, etc.)
    • Media
    • Area business owners
    • Local clergy

Remember that the goal of the program is to unite your community with a shared reading experience . . . so enjoy the experience to its fullest!

Don’t forget to include audiobooks as part of your programming.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • 85% of learning derives from listening
  • 30% of people are auditory learners

Listening plays a vital role in communication and it’s an essential skill that students need to function effectively in the workplace; and life in general.

Experts agree that being read to is the most important exercise needed to become a reader.

Audiobooks promote a sense of understanding and human connection—
helping to remove the feeling of isolation that illiteracy can bring.

Audiobooks support struggling readers by providing listeners with correct pronunciation and a broader vocabulary.

Audiobooks are good reading role models—they demonstrate fluent reading and appropriate phrasing, intonation, and articulation.

Learn more at www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/literacy.