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Hook New Readers with First Chapter Fridays

A couple of days ago, a reader emailed me to ask for suggestions for First Chapter Fridays. This is where librarians or teachers read-aloud the first chapter of a book in order to “hook” less-than-enthusiastic readers. I know a former student of mine is now also a teacher, and she also does First Chapter Fridays.

I thought I would share my emailed suggestions with the rest of the world! I selected the titles based on:

  • Action begins quickly
  • Strong narrative voice
  • The entire book is exciting, not just the first chapter
  • Diverse characters
  • Dialogue that moves the story along
  • First chapter is <10 pages.

I’ve been trying to keep my blog posts short, so I’m breaking this up into a series of recommendations. You can navigate the recommendations by clicking the images at the bottom of each post.

First Chapter Fridays suggested titles

I am playing around with this new carousel plugin! Right now, it’s in a trial period, but if I like it, I will buy it.

I will add new First Chapter Fridays posts here, and you should be able to click the arrows to move around within the carousel. I’ve just added this new feature today (Aug 24, 2021), so please be patient while I add new posts for FCF.

Click on the images in the carousel below to read more about why I chose that title for First Chapter Fridays.


If you have other suggestions for First Chapter Fridays, please add them in the comments! Please be sure to include grade or age levels with your recommendations.

YA and MG titles for First Chapter Fridays


  • I’m new to middle school scheduling, but love the idea of first chapter Fridays! But with flexible scheduling, how do you reach as many students as possible?

    • Hi, Kate,
      This is a great question! I was middle school for most of my career. I worked closely with the English Department to schedule regular library time. I saw classes through their ELA teachers, many on a rotating 2-3 week basis. If this isn’t yet established in your school, talk to English teachers you think will be receptive. The others will hopefully catch on. I’ve got some advice and tips for secondary student library time here:

      Another possibility (that I have not tried personally) is to read aloud into Audacity and set up a QR code or link that students can access on their own time or teachers can scan to play in the classroom. Just make sure the read-alouds are not publicly available and are active for a limited time to avoid copyright violations.

      • I’ve done just that. I record the first chapter, save it in Google drive and then put it in a schoology folder. Schoology is our LMS and thus not public. I love this new initiative. Thanks for the great suggestions!

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