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Books to read
Old 06-12-2017, 03:23 PM
 
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I am moving up from elementary to middle school for next year. I know my way around books for the elementary aged kids, but I dont know what books middle school aged kids read. Can you point me in the direction of what books are popular and which I should read to prepare for next year? Thanks!


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Old 06-16-2017, 09:54 AM
 
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I've been retired from 6th grade reading for a year now, but will share some I used... don't forget to check the common core resources too.

The Lightning Thief - a great archetype hero story, high interest for both girls and boys AR reading level 4.7. There is a TON of resources online - Engage NY has a HUGE amount for ELA - too much actually. One can go in so many directions with this novel. And Riordon is such a prolific writer that many kids start eating him up on their own.

We've Got a Job. AR reading level of 5.something. Great non-fiction about the Birmingham Children's March. Super resource to dovetail with the fictional Watsons Go to Birmingham. The author's site has great educator's resources.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. Not sure of reading level, but I used it in 6th, and it was borrowed by the 7th English teacher. Great strong male and female protagonists, I enjoy the debate on whether it's considered science fiction or just fiction - the kids really get into it. Found a great online resource guide

Hoot by Carl Haissen - Great to illustrate empowered kids, modern fiction that kids can relate to. Spurs them onto reading some of the rest of his books, deals with present-day environmental issues. Good for 6th, a little low for 7th but high interest.

Old Yeller - I know, I know, and "old" book, but boy my kids loved it! Empowered protagonist, the 6th graders had westward movement last year, so they can pull quite a bit of prior knowledge. We live in a ranching community, so there was high interest in comparing past and present ranching practices.

The 7th grade studied The Giver. Don't know much more than that.

I found a set of OLD literature books that had some really powerful short stories - not the "Readers' Digest" versions either. It was nice to take a break and do a shorter piece.

I also used newsela.com for current events. I really liked that I could differentiate the reading level for individual kids, but have whole group dialogues about the material.

It would be helpful to find out what novels other teachers in the other grade levels are studying. I can't tell you the number of times in my 37 years a teacher bought a beautiful new set of novels only to find out it was taught in another grade level. Granted, one could read it again and get more out of it, but the kids sure don't want to do that.
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Old 06-17-2017, 01:21 PM
 
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I had a pretty difficult to motivate to read group last year. I know that the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is always popular. II also try to steer kids who like graphic novels to the Big Nate series.

For girls, I recommend The Matched series, the Mercy Fall wolves series (if they like things like Twilight), and the Selection series. Girls also seem to like those books where the story is a series of poems. The name escapes me right now. Also, I personally loved Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series. Girls also were reading Paper Towns (not from our school library.)

For boys, depending on where they are by reading level, I might recommend Matt Christopher or Mike Lupica if they like sports. I also push the Bluford high and orca sport series for lower readers. Boys seems to love The Lockdown series if I can get them started on it.

For both, the Legend series by Marie Lu, the Divergent series, and anything by Micheal Grant (Gone series).

To my dismay, A LOT of girls and one boy started reading 13 Reasons Why due to the Netflix show. I read the book years ago and thought that the message was pretty disturbing. What I recall thinking after reading this is that there is no good reason to take your own life. This is the one where the girl commits suicide and gives a boy cassettes as to why. There was a ton of publicity about it last year. I don't have this book in my classroom library and students needed parent permission to check it out of the library. At any rate, this is probably more HS or 8th grade appropriate.

Other popular titles were Wonder (loved this), of course the new J. K. Rowling books/play, and the Maze Runner series. Aside from the J. K. Rowling books, I've read and mostly liked all of these books and series. I still push some of my old favorites, but I found my students last year were mostly interested in things that were movies and t.v. shows I couldn't get anyone to read Where the Red Fern Grows!

As part of curriculum, we read a few things that students genuinely hated. I am a little miffed that I am required to teach these. I tried my hardest, but I found students really not into them.
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