Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education has become a critical factor in promoting sustainable development. Meanwhile, book reading is still an essential method for cognitive development and knowledge acquisition. In developing countries where STEM teaching and learning resources are limited, book reading is an important educational tool to promote STEM. Nevertheless, public data sets about STEM education and book reading behaviors in emerging countries are scarce. This article, therefore, aims to present a data set of 4,966 secondary school students from a school-based data collection in Vietnam. The data set comprises of five major categories: 1) students' personal information (including STEM performance), 2) family-related information, 3) book reading preferences, 4) book reading frequency/ habits, and 5) classroom activities. By introducing the designing principles, the data collection method, and the variables in the data set, we aim to provide researchers, policymakers, and educators with well-validated resources and guidelines to conduct low-cost research, pedagogical programs in emerging countries.