Dystopian literature is a literary genre that presents complex subjects in a way that resonates with young readers.

These compelling, immersive stories — often with a sci-fi or fantasy element — allow readers to explore challenging topics like injustice, authoritarianism, pandemics, and climate change. Many of these titles include challenging words and themes that can be unfamiliar to your students, so prepping them for the reading by explicitly teaching the specific words they'll encounter in the text is essential to their comprehension, and their enjoyment.

With Vocabulary.com's curated lists for dozens of dystopian fiction titles that will appeal to the range of readers in your classroom, it's easy to set your students up for success.

Implementation Ideas

Prep students for closer reading with paired practice activities.

  1. Before students tackle their reading assignment, search for the book in our list library. Using our curated lists, you can pair the title you're teaching with text-based vocabulary instruction.
  2. Assign a Practice activity based on the list you selected. Our tools make it easy to assign work to multiple classes, create a series of assignments for an entire book, and adjust due dates.
  3. Have students independently complete the Practice assignment. As they work, they'll learn the key vocabulary words from the book, presented in usage examples from the source text.

Give students a choice of books within the genre.

Genre study is a perfect match for student-selected reading, but it can be a challenge to provide instruction to multiple students reading different titles within one class. You can support individual choice by having students select their books from our list library, and then complete the Practice activity on their own.

Recommended reading:

The following recommendations are a great place to start. Bear in mind that the titles below are just a sample of our dystopian fiction titles. Search our list library for thousands of other curated lists and collections.

Internment by Samira Ahmed
Feed by MT Anderson
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Hunger Games Trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins
Matched by Ali Condi
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
The City of Ember by Jean duPrau
The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Gone by Michael Grant
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
The Giver Quartet (The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, Son) by Lois Lowry
Legend by Marie Lu
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
1984 by George Orwell
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
The Divergent Trilogy (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant) by Veronica Roth
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Uglies by Scott Westerfield

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