40 of the Best First Chapter Friday Books for High School: With an Audiobook Database

First Chapter Friday for High School

The Ultimate Database for First Chapter Friday

As a teacher, one of the greatest joys you can experience is watching your students develop a love for reading.

First Chapter Friday is such a FUN way to get your students excited about reading!

I don’t hear about First Chapter Friday in High School classrooms as much as I do in elementary classrooms, BUT I want to change that and create a resource for high school teachers to use!

I’ve split my list into two sections: 

  1. The Classics
  2. The Best Sellers and Award Winners

What is First Chapter Friday?

The idea is simple. Every Friday, students read the first chapter of a selected book. (Obviously it can be done on ANY day, and not just Friday)

The brief introduction to the book’s plot, characters, and setting hooks students in and encourages them to continue reading it in their own time.

This approach works precisely because it provides students with a taste of the exciting world that is within the pages of a book.

Using "The Classics" with High School Students for First Chapter Friday

Using classic books for First Chapter Friday is a fun opportunity to expose students to those famous stories they’ve heard about at some point in their life. These timeless literary works possess enduring value and offer numerous benefits.

Classic books showcase exemplary writing, complex themes, and captivating storytelling, exposing students to high-quality literature. Additionally, these texts provide cultural and historical insight, enabling students to explore different time periods and perspectives.

Classic literature helps build language skills by exposing students to sophisticated and nuanced language usage. It also encourages critical thinking and analysis by examining complex characters and social issues.

By introducing classic books early on, teachers can establish a strong reading foundation and foster a love for literature. First Chapter Friday classics can often serve as a bridge to contemporary literature, allowing students to make connections and appreciate modern works.ย 

What makes a book "Classic"?

A book is considered a “classic” when it possesses enduring literary value and has stood the test of time. It’s important to note that the classification of a book as a classic can vary based on personal preferences and cultural contexts. Several factors contribute to classifying a book as a classic:

  1. Timelessness: A classic book remains relevant across generations, addressing universal themes and exploring the complexities of the human experience.

  2. Literary Excellence: Classic books often exhibit exceptional writing style, innovative storytelling techniques, and profound character development that captivate readers.

  3. Influence: A classic book has a significant impact on literature and culture, inspiring other authors and shaping artistic movements.

  4. Enduring Popularity: Classic books continue to be widely read and appreciated by audiences throughout the years, demonstrating their lasting appeal.

  5. Historical or Social Significance: Some classic books provide insights into specific historical periods, offer social commentary, or challenge societal norms, making them culturally significant.

"The Classics" for First Chapter Friday - with audiobook links

First Chapter Friday Classic Book ideas

Using Best Seller Books for First Chapter Fridays

Using bestseller books for First Chapter Friday is A MUST.

Most of my high school students will recognize the Award Winner Books that I read with them for First Chapter Friday.

Bestsellers are usually right on the pulse of what’s happening now, often striking a chord with students and grabbing their attention from the get-go. They often tackle current themes and big societal issues, creating an environment that helps students think critically and encourages them to consider different perspectives.

With all sorts of genres in the bestseller lists, teachers can find something for every student’s taste. Plus, bestsellers usually have gripping stories, complex characters, and top-notch writing that make reading a pleasure and inspire students to read more on their own.

Introducing high school students to these popular books doesn’t just encourage them to recommend books to each other and spark great classroom discussions, it also helps build a sense of community.

And by bringing bestseller books into First Chapter Friday, teachers can keep up with the latest in literature, bridging the gap between the classics and today’s books, and creating a lively, engaging, and relevant learning environment perfect for high school students.

Criteria for Best Selling and Award Winning Books

A book becomes a bestseller or an award winner for various reasons, depending on the criteria set by different platforms and organizations. It’s important to note that the criteria for bestsellers and awards may vary among different platforms, publishers, and award-giving bodies. Here are some factors that contribute to a book’s success in becoming a bestseller or an award winner:

  1. Engaging Storytelling: A book with a compelling and well-crafted narrative, intriguing plot, and relatable characters has a higher chance of captivating readers and gaining popularity. “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds is such a great example of engaging storytelling: A Teacher’s Honest Review of “Long Way Down”

  2. Originality: Books that bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, or unique concepts to the table often attract attention and stand out from the crowd. Creativity and originality can make a book more appealing to readers and award committees.

  3. Emotional Impact: Books that evoke strong emotions or touch upon universal themes have the potential to strike a chord with readers. Emotional resonance can lead to positive word-of-mouth recommendations and critical acclaim.

  4. Timing and Relevance: The cultural, social, or political relevance of a book can contribute to its success. Books addressing current issues or reflecting societal trends may garner more attention and recognition. There are so many Essential Questions that can be explored with books that address important issues and social trends.

  5. Positive Reviews and Word-of-Mouth: Favorable reviews from critics, influential figures, and trusted sources, as well as positive word-of-mouth recommendations from readers, can generate buzz and contribute to a book’s success.

"The Best Sellers & Award Winners" - with audiobook links

Picture of Carley ๐Ÿ“š Teacher Author @ Visual Thinking Classroom

Carley ๐Ÿ“š Teacher Author @ Visual Thinking Classroom

B.A., B.Ed., Graduate Certificate in Teacher Librarianship // carley@visualthinkingclassroom.com