Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book Talk: Books I've Used for Read Alouds: Part One

This is my fourth year in the classroom (fifth year as a teacher). Over that time I've used a number of books as read alouds. Because I've taught from Grade 3 to Grade 7 in that time, and often taught the same children, I've never repeated a read aloud. Which means I'm always looking for new books to read!

Here's some of the books I've read aloud and the grades I've read them to:

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket
(Grade 3/4) This was a tricky class to choose read alouds for. I only had them for 10 weeks, they were a very diverse group of students, and I was supposed to be teaching them about success . . . How better to teach success in the faceof adversity, that reading this book. It did encourage a few of them to go on and read the series, and several of them still remember it today.

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book 1)Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
(Grade 5) This one had a bit of a slow start and was made more difficult by its long chapters (finding an appropriate stopping point could be a challenge. But as we got into it, more and more students were completely engaged. A great book for students who aren't completely sold on reading.

The Recruit (CHERUB 1) by Robert Muchamore
(Grade 7) Seriously - if you have reluctant 12 year old male readers, try these books. James Adams is completely flawed and just like any other kid. He's smart, but makes big mistakes and gets into a lot of trouble. Things go bad for him. And then he gets recruited to be a spy. There's also a great supporting cast of characters, including some brilliant female characters. The first five or six books are great for the classroom, but since the characters grow up with the books, you might want to leave the later books for students to find on their own.This book started an entire class reading them, most of them buying their own copies to supplement mine.

Juggling with Mandarins (published as Out of Reach in the US) by V. M Jones
(Grade 7, but appropriate for Grade 6) This is a New Zealand story (which we don't get enough of) about being a boy, and fathers and sons and the girl next door and soccer and rock climbing and competition and brothers and indeed juggling. This book really resonated with a lot of kids. The characters are realistic and relevant, the story line easy to relate to.

Tomorrow: Part Two of my List

Read about the Importance of Read Alouds here
Read more Book Talks here
Read Aloud Master List


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Queensland, Australia
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