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The Florida DOE B.E.S.T. ELA Standards offers two lists of suggested texts. One is a grade level set aligned to teaching the standards. The other is a "civics" oriented list, organized in bands (K-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12). 

FCTE supports the goal of the new B.E.S.T. ELA Standards for increasing the rigor of the texts used to prepare students for their post-secondary lives and believes that ELA teachers must maintain a careful balance between using literature and informative texts as instructional materials/content and using all forms of text as a means of encouraging students to be lifelong readers and lifelong learners.

Any text may be a mirror of the life a student is currently living, and our students need to be able to see themselves in the stories they read. However, texts may also be windows into worlds the students have never encountered but need to see. FCTE is offering these ideas for companion texts to help Florida's ELA teachers find texts to use in their classrooms to best meet the needs of their students while also fulfilling the goals of the new B.E.S.T. Standards.


The high school texts below have been organized into thematic sets but are easily mixed and matched with each other to form other thematic collections. They were derived from a list obtained during work on the DOE Standards Revision Committee in spring 2020 and may need to be updated. The middle school lists are from the most recent version of the B.E.S.T. standards available online. FCTE has been working all summer to generate these lists. Obviously, there are many other titles that would work -- and we'll be soliciting ideas from our membership.


FCTE reminds teachers to read any book in its entirety before choosing it for whole class instruction. Student choice is a key component in developing a lifelong love of reading. It is key that students have the right to stop reading a choice book they find to be offensive or unsuitable. Not all books are appropriate for all students. 

Fl B.E.S.T. Grade Level Texts & Suggested companion texts

Grade level TEXTS

Grade 6

FL B.E.S.T. ELA Standards Suggested Texts

“Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost 

“Eulogy of the Dog” by George G. Vest 

“Farewell Speech” by Lou Gehrig 

"Speech to National Council of Negro Women" by Condoleezza Rice 

“The House on the Hill” by Edwin Arlington Robinson 

“Two Viewpoints” by Amelia Josephine Burr 

“Yet do I Marvel” by Countee Cullen 

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park 

Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff 

Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare 

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Jenkins 

Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry


Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs 

Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman 

Little Britches by Ralph Moody 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

The Book of Virtues for Young People: A Treasury of Great Moral

Stories by William Bennett 

The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen 

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom 

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster 

Tales of the Greek Heroes by Roger Lancelyn Green 

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson 

FCTE Companion Texts

Some Kind of Happiness (Legrand)

Argos (Hardy), Shiloh (Naylor), Sounder (Armstrong and Barkley), Where the Red Fern Grows (Rawls), Max: Best Friend. Hero. Marine. (Shotz)

Luckiest Man (Eig), All the Broken Pieces (Burg), The Hero Two Doors Down (Robinson)

Brown Girl Dreaming (Woodson), How High the Moon (Parsons), The Parker Inheritance (Johnson)

Gaby, Lost and Found (Cervantes), Summerlost (Condie)

Lord of the Nutcracker Men (Lawrence), Private Peaceful (Morpurgo)

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Taylor), New Kid (Craft), Genesis Begins Again (Williams)

Refugee (Gatz), Without a Country (Kulin)

“Morituri Salutamus” (Longfellow)

A Good Kind of Trouble (Ramée), A Little Pieceo f Ground (Laird)

The Soul of an Octopus (Montgomery)

Betty Before X (Shabazz and Watson)

Harbor Me (Woodson)

Across Five Aprils (Hunt), John Lincoln Clem Civil War Drummer Boy (Abbott)

The Mighty Miss Malone (Curtis), The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Kelly), Out of the Dust (Hesse)

The Breadwinner (Ellis)

It’s Our World, Too! (Hoose)

When My Name Was Keoko (Park)

The Upstairs Room (Reiss)

Fish in a Tree (Hunt)

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Mbalia)

The Dagger Quick (Eames)

Grade level TEXTS

GradeS 7-9


Grade level TEXTS

Grade 10

FL B.E.S.T. ELA Standards Suggested Texts

Discrimination, Inequality, and Resistance

“Address to William Henry Harrison” (Techumseh)

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (Johnson)

Cry, the Beloved Country (Paton)

Prometheus Unbound (Shelley)

The Souls of Black Folk (DuBois)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Stowe)

Up from Slavery (Washington)


Women’s Rights

“For the Equal Rights Amendment” (Chisholm)

“What’s Wrong with ‘Equal Rights’ for Women” (Schlafly)


Confession and Justification

“Checkers” speech (Nixon)

“This is Just to Say” (Williams)


Truth and Beauty

“Constantly Risking Absurdity” (Ferlinghetti)

“Ode on a Grecian Urn” (Keats)



“Cross of Gold” speech (Bryan)

“I am a Democrat not a Revolutionist” (Hil)l

“House Divided” speech (Lincoln)


Farewell Advice

“Farewell Address” (Washington)

“Farewell Speech” (MacArthur)



“Ozymandias” (Shelley)

Macbeth (Shakespeare)



“Thanatopsis” (Bryant)

“Not Waving but Drowning” (Smith)



Metamorphoses (Ovid)

“The Story of Pygmalion” (Ovid)

Frankenstein (Shelley

Galatea (Miller)

Lord of the Flies (Golding)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare)

Pygmalion (Shaw)


Just or Unjust Accusations

The Crucible (Miller)

The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne)


Religion in Literature

“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (Edwards)

2 Samuel (Bible)

“The Second Coming” (Yeats)


The American Dream

A Raisin in the Sun (Hansberry)

Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story (McClay)

Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck)

The Piano Lesson (Wilson)



The Red Badge of Courage (Crane)

Common Sense (Paine)


Free Speech

Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury)

“On Freedom of Speech and the Press” (Franklin)

FCTE Companion Texts

Discrimination, Inequality, and Resistance




Women’s Rights


Confession and Justification


Truth and Beauty




Farewell Advice








Just or Unjust Accusations


Religion in Literature


The American Dream




Free Speech

Grade level TEXTS

Grade 11

FL B.E.S.T. ELA Standards Suggested Texts

History & War

“Book IV” History of the Peloponnesian War (Thucydides)

“Book VII” Histories (Herodotus)

“Depart!” Book VII, the Anabasis of Alexander (Arrian)

“Pericles Funeral Oration” from Book II of History of the Peloponnesian War (Thucydides)

“Third Philippic” (Demosthenes)


Government, Politics, and the Law

“Doctrine of Right,” the Metaphysics of Morals (Kant)

“To the Public” (Garrison)

The Federalist Papers (Hamilton et al.)

Two Treatises of Government (Locke)

 “Socrates’ Apology” (Plato)

On Duties (Cicero)

The First Philippics of Cicero against Marcus Antonius (CIcero)



 “To the Public” (Garrison)

“We Wear the Mask” (Dunbar)

“The Chimney Sweepers” (Blake)

A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovisch (Solzhenitsyn)

Are Women People? (Miller)



“Nature” (Emerson)

Walden (Thoreau)

The Dreamer (Ryan)


Society, Social Structure, and Class

The Canterbury Tales (Chaucer)

Jane Eyre (Brontë)

On the Social Contract (Rousseau)


Loss and Anguish

Book of Psalms (Bible)

“O Captain, My Captain” (Whitman)

Knowledge and Wisdom, Reason and Logic

Discourse on Method (Descartes)

The Spirit of Laws (Montesquieu)

Growing Up

The Dreamer (Ryan)

The Surrender Tree (Engle)


Issues of Morality

Billy Budd (Melville)

Julius Caesar (Shakespeare)

Inferno (Dante)

Confessions of St. Augustine (Augustine of Hippo)

FCTE Companion Texts 

History & War

The Book Thief (Zusak)

Between Shades of Gray (Sepetys)

Code Name Verity (Wein)

Code Talker (Bruchac)

My Brother Sam is Dead (Collier)


Government, Politics, and the Law

Stamped (Reynolds and Kendi)

Just Mercy (Stevenson)

Warriors Don't Cry (Beals)

Banned Book Club (Sook)


How Dare the Sun Rise (Uwiringiyimana)

We Are Displaced (Yousafzai)

Dear Martin (Stone)

The Hate U Give (Thomas)

The Lines We Cross (Abdel-Fattah)

American Street (Zoboi)


An Inconvenient Truth (Gore)

Empty (Weyn)

Wolf Girl: Finding Myself in the Wild (Markegard)


Society, Social Structure, and Class

The Education of Margot Sanchez (Rivera)

We Were Liars (Lockhart)

Dig (King)

When Dimple Met Rishi (Menon)

The Sun is Also a Star (Yoon)


Loss and Anguish

Little and Lion (Colbert)

You're Welcome, Universe (Gardner)

History is All You Left Me (Silvera)

Knowledge and Wisdom, Reason and Logic

The Madman's Daughter (Shepherd)

Sophie's World (Gaarder)


Growing Up

It's Not Like It's a Secret (Sugiura)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Sáenz)

Coming of Age in Mississippi (Moody)

The Last Illusion (Khakpour)

Issues of Morality

Feed (Anderson)

The Lost Girl (Mandanna)

Fly Girl (Smith)

What I Saw and How I Lied (Blundell)

Grade level TEXTS

Grade 12


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