Skip to Main Content

Hostos CLIP Independent Reading Project: Home


Why is independent reading important?

Becoming a fluent reader in English is one of the most important skills that will help you to prepare for college in the United States. One of the best ways for you to improve your reading is by reading texts that are level-appropriate. 

The more your read, the more skill you will develop as a reader in critiquing and evaluating texts, synthesizing materials from multiple sources, and note taking. 

Becoming a skillful reader in English will also help you to: build background knowledge, develop your English vocabulary, acquire an understanding of complex grammatical structures, and learn more about U.S. culture. 

How to use this list

This list is a good place to start looking for a good book, but you are free to pick any book from the Hostos Library or from the collection in your CLIP classroom.

IF THE BOOK THAT INTERESTS YOU HAS ALREADY BEEN TAKEN: remember that books are organized by subject - so books in the same call number neighborhood may be about similar subjects. Please browse (look at the books nearby) to look for other books that may interest you and that is a good reading level.

How to find books outside this list

OneSearch is Hostos Library's main "search engine". All the CUNY colleges use OneSearch as a tool to find books. See here for instructions on using OneSearch to find books.


Non-fiction books - call numbers A - PA

Non-fiction books describe people, places, ideas, and things as they exist in the world.

Non-fiction books in the library are ordered by subject. For example, near the Vegan Diets book are other books about food, from Caribbean recipes to the health effects of fast food. You can use the call number of a non-fiction book to go to the "neighborhood" of books about a subject that interests you. Look around on the shelf and you might find another book that is even more interesting.

For a non-fiction book, you do not have to start reading on page one - instead, look at Table of Contents in the first few pages of the books. The Table of Contents is a list of all the chapters. Find the chapters that look the most interesting to you.

It is best if you read the whole book, but if it is very long, you can pick part of the book for your report. You must choose at least 50 pages from the book.

Literature books - call numbers PN-PS

Literature, also called fiction, includes stories, novels, poems, and plays. They might describe people, places, ideas and things as they exist in the world, but the author has imagined the details. Sometimes they describe completely invented people and places.

Literature books are ordered by the country of the author and then by last name of the author. You can use the call number of a work of literature to find other books written by someone else of that country. An author's books will be all together, both in the original language and any translations.

(There are a few complications to this--for example, books written in the same country but in different centuries will be far apart--but the most helpful thing to remember is that for literature, books are divided by first by country and then by author name.)

Non-fiction books - call numbers R-Z

Oxford Bookworms + Townsend Press

Oxford Bookworms books are very short books that have been written especially for people learning English as a second (or third, or fourth) language. There are eight levels of difficulty, from very easy to read to harder to read.

Where can I find the Bookworms?

The Oxford Bookworms books are near the entrance of the library's reading room (see the map).

photo of bookworms books

This section also includes books published by Townsend Press. 

The Townsend Press books include fictional stories about everyday life as well as some non-fiction stories that people tell about their own lives. 

Cover of Brothers in Arms Cover of La Vida Real

Guide author

Profile Photo
Haruko Yamauchi

How to use call numbers to find a book

Libraries arrange books by call number. The call number is connected to the subject of the book.

Because books are arranged by subject, it's a great habit to browse (look around at other books nearby), as books on similar subjects will be close to each other.

On the book, the call number will look like this:   call number label

The books in the stacks (downstairs in the large reading room) are arranged from A to Z as follows:

map with bookworms aisle

1. Looking for your book's call number, always start at the TOP of the label and work your way down line by line.

Let's say this is your call number:   call number label

  • You can see from the map above that "G" books will be on your left side.
  • Look at the blue cards that show you which books are on which shelves.
  • The "G" section will start with G, then go to GA, GB, and so on.
  • first set of call numbers
  • Since you've found the GV books, look at the second line of your number. Remember that call numbers are read line by line
  • So for example, call numbers that start with G will always come before call numbers that start with H, no matter what other numbers or letters you see below those top two lines.
  • second set of call numbers

Once you have found the shelf witside view of stacksh your book, notice that the shelves are divided into small sections.







reading left to right, top to bottom, then over


The call numbers are read in a zig-zag way within the sections: look for your call number by looking from left to right, then down to the next row.

Then read across the next row, left to right, then down to the next row, until the bottom shelf.

The next number will be on the top shelf of the next section.

If you reach the end of the shelf and have not gotten to your number, go around to the next shelf.