Start with a Book

Website review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Start with a Book Website Poster Image
Start with a topic, and site will you lead to a great book.

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Educational Value

With the assistance of a parent, teacher, or librarian who uses this site, kids can learn how reading about a topic of interest to them can enrich their lives and their education. Kids also can learn how to ask relevant questions and discuss with others about what they're reading. While it's not user-friendly for young kids, adults are provided with many excellent resources to help kids learn to love reading.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Each book contains a link to purchase it at, although the site does suggest going to the library to find books as well. WETA and the Park Foundation's logos are displayed on many pages. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Start With a Book is an exceptionally helpful site for parents and teachers who are looking for book suggestions, reading activities, and practical tips for teaching kids to read. Books are categorized by theme so you can choose subjects that you know interest your kid. This site is not really for kids to peruse, but rather for adults to find good reading resources to offer kids. (Make sure you're typing in ".org," as there is also a ".com" site with the same name.) 

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What's it about?

START WITH A BOOK gives practical suggestions to parents who want to foster a love of reading in their kids, grades K-5. First, parents choose a topic that their kid is interested in from a long list of subjects -- art, animals, nature, dinosaurs, and more. Then, they can purchase the books directly from or print a book list for the library. The site also lists ideas for extended learning activities, including related apps and website, and it provides information from many sources on teaching reading and reading comprehension.

Is it any good?

This site is a powerfully comprehensive resource for parents, teachers, and librarians who want to find great books in the topics that typically interest kids, and who want to teach good reading skills to kids. There's so much information here that it's almost overwhelming. It may be best at first to start with your kid's interest and gradually fan out on the site from there. It would be great if site creators would add a section just for kids; right now the site is generally for adults to find books, activities, and reading tips for kids, but not for kids themselves. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about taking time to read. Ask your kid what's good about turning off the TV, computer, and mobile devices for some quiet reading time? What's difficult about it? 

  • Set some reading time goals, and read with and/or alongside your child. 

  • Try some of the suggested activities to make connections between the books you and your kid are reading and hands-on learning.

Website details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to read

Themes & Topics

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