Science fiction is a subgenre of speculative fiction that immerses readers in imaginary but plausible worlds in which the capabilities and consequences of technology and science are central to the plot.

From dark dystopian drama to visions of gleaming utopias, from grittily realistic epics to operatically fantastic romps, the science fiction genre offers a range of reading material for your students.

While sci-fi explores imaginary scenarios, the genre can offer profound insight into a variety of real subjects such as systems of government, colonialism, humanity's relationship with technology, and our place within the vastness of the universe.

The rich language that makes science fiction compelling and believable can also pose a challenge to students, so it's helpful to prep them for their reading by explicitly teaching the specific words they'll encounter in the text.

Vocabulary.com offers curated lists for popular and classic sci-fi titles that will appeal to the range of readers in your classroom.

Implementation Ideas

Prep students for closer reading with text-based practice.

  1. Before students tackle their reading, search for the book in our List Library to pair the title with our curated vocabulary lists.
  2. Assign a Practice activity based on the list you selected. It's easy to create a series of assignments for an entire book and adjust the due dates.
  3. Have students independently complete the Practice assignment. They'll learn the most relevant vocabulary words from the book, presented in usage examples from the source text.

Encourage self-selected reading. Our ready-made resources make it easy for you to support independent reading. Have students select their science fiction title from our recommended titles below, and then complete the Practice activity on Vocabulary.com.

Start genre-based book clubs. Genre study is a perfect match for student book clubs. Have students create their own vocabulary list to share with their group. Encourage them to note the words that they found the most challenging, intriguing, or relevant, and discuss their lists with their peers.

Recommended Reading

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

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles
Gone by Michael Grant
Dune by Frank Herbert
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Warcross by Marie Lu
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Dry by Jarrod Shusterman and Neal Shusterman
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

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