Marguerite Kelly usually gives very sound advice, and that's why I was disappointed in her choice of books to interest an adolescent girl in reading {Style Plus, July 9}. Marguerite Kelly sells the young woman short by suggesting only popular titles such as "Color Me Beautiful" and Seventeen magazine. At best, such a list is incomplete.

Why not include some of the classics? Current authors aren't the only ones who have something interesting and compelling to say to young people. There are any number of novels, short stories or plays by writers such as Mark Twain, Willa Cather or Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose words and themes can appeal directly to the teen-age reader's own life.

And what about history and biography? Adolescents need and want models, and they don't all have to come from popular culture. Teens deserve to know more about important figures in our past, about the achievements and disappointments in the lives of people such as James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.

True, we can't expect reluctant young readers to plunge into long and complex works such as the "Aeneid" or "Moby Dick" on their own. And I wouldn't hope to attract them to a list that didn't include some popular books or magazines. But if we supplement the contemporary material with some selections from the great works of literature and history, we'll not only help teens become better readers, but more thoughtful ones too. LYNNE V. CHENEY Chairman National Endowment for the Humanities Washington