Jumpstart your students' summer reading by pairing assigned books with one of Vocabulary.com's curated vocabulary lists.

Learning essential vocabulary in advance will help your students get the most out of the books they read independently during the summer months. 

You can boost student comprehension and foster accountability — without creating any extra work or grading for yourself. Best of all, Vocabulary.com will automatically follow up with students over time so they really learn the words they struggled with.

Here's how to seamlessly integrate vocabulary instruction into your summer reading plans:

1. Select assigned texts, or invite students to choose their own books. Looking for some great summer reading suggestions? Our list of recommended titles below appeals to a range of interests and abilities. 

2. Check out our high-quality, ready-made lists. Developed by seasoned educators, our lists are designed to align with your curriculum and to support independent reading. You can use the lists as they are, or copy and customize them.

3. Assign a Practice activity. When students practice the words on the list you assigned, they learn key vocabulary and preview the text before they tackle the reading.

4. Leave the follow-up to us. When students play The Challenge  on Vocabulary.com, we automatically follow up with them until they master any words they struggled with.

Below, you'll find recommended 2019 summer reading, along with links to our curated vocabulary lists for each text. Bear in mind that these recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg. You can find more great resources on our Lists page, and we're adding new lists every week.

We've also kicked off a new summer reading series, featuring interviews with popular YA and middle grade authors. See what they have to say about their own novels set in summertime, and their favorite summer reads.

An Interview With Sandhya Menon

An Interview with Kekla Magoon

An Interview with Lamar Giles

High-interest Books

Internment by Samira Ahmed

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Louisiana’s Way Home by Katherine Applegate

New Kid by Jerry Craft

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lipincott

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Track series by Jason Reynolds: Ghost, Patina, Sunny, Lu

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

2019 Award Winners

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (National Book Award, Printz Award, Pura Belpré Award, and Walter Dean Myers Award)

The Unwanted by Don Brown (YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction)

A Few Red Drops by Claire Hartfield (Coretta Scott King Award)

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent)

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (William C. Morris YA Debut Award)

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (Newbery Medal)

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Walter Dean Myers Award)

Past Award Winners

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (2016 Newbery Medal)

Monster by Walter Dean Myers (2000 Printz Award)

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (2018 Walter Dean Myers Award)

Esperanza Rising by Pamela Muñoz Ryan (2002 Pura Belpré Award)

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (2015 National Book Award)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2018 William C. Morris YA Debut Award)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (2014 National Book Award)

Middle Grade Favorites

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Holes by Louis Sachar

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Popular Graphic Novels

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

March by John Lewis

I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding 

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster 

A Separate Peace by John Knowles 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle 

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 

Beloved by Toni Morrison 

Animal Farm by George Orwell 

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell 

Hamlet by William Shakespeare 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson 

Compelling Nonfiction

March Forward, Girl by Melba Pattillo Beals

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Educated by Tara Westover

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Beloved Series

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling 

Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan 

The Giver by Lois Lowry 

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 

Divergent by Veronica Roth