Possible Read-alouds

I recently began thinking about what I will read aloud to my 6th graders this year. While I don’t stick to any prescribed list (including my own) I do like getting some ideas before the school year starts. My lists change as new books are published and as I get to know my class and their needs. But here are the books I am already considering:

Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher- I love starting the year with this book. I usually only read it with my homeroom, during the week before we begin switching classes. It’s a great book about a class that has to work together when their school forgets to call a substitute for their teacher. The characters and situations are very realistic and it is a great community-building story. We talk about expectations, behavior, routines and procedures, and respect while reading it.

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt (review)- Like FLYING SOLO, this book is also a definite. I will read this aloud, though I might wait until later in the year. It’s a gorgeous story, but I think I have to get my students to love reading before I can get them to understand THE UNDERNEATH. This is a non-negotiable, though. I will be reading it aloud!

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan- I love ending the year with this action-packed tale. My students are learning about Ancient Greece in Social Studies at the same time, so we are able to do a lot of cross-curricular activities. Plus, most of them end up running out and buying the next books in the series, so it is a great way to start off summer reading.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (review)- I love this book. And the edge-of-your-seat events really pull kids into the story. I am not sure if this makes a better read-aloud or literature circle book. But I will definitely use it in some way. And it is a survival novel, which I love to use as our first theme.  Hmmm.

Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson (review) or Peak by Roland Smith (review) – I like to start the year with a survival or environmental themed book. LEEPIKE RIDGE is a great adventure/survival story. As is PEAK. I love them both, for different reasons. But I can’t decide which one to use!

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry (review)- I am considering doing an author study of Lois Lowry this year in Reading Workshop. THE GIVER is one of our district reading requirements (and one of my favorites) and I would love to begin with THE WILLOUGHBYS, discuss NUMBER THE STARS (which is read in 4th grade) and other Lowry works, and then go into THE GIVER. Does anyone have any suggestions?

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (review)- Another favorite. This is a great character book, and it appeals to middle schoolers because it does such a great job describing middle school life. I really want to share this with the entire class.

Drums, Girls, And Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick (review)- Most likely a non-negotiable. We read this aloud while preparing our Hope Chests for the Center for Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders. It’s too perfect not to share as class, especially during that time.

Wow, that’s a lot of books!  Especially when I know that even more books will be added to the list when I begin reading the Fall publications.  Eep!  But I love the looks of this list so far, so it is going to be a great year!

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8 Responses

  1. I just finished the Willoughbies, and I might suggest that you read a book that more closely resembles the kind of books it spoofs. I know they’ll be familiar with the Pevensies at the very least, but maybe add in an older book they won’t have read, something that fits that “Traditional book” genre…

    Just a thought.

    I think it’s a GREAT list.

  2. Hi,

    I don’t want to be self-serving, but I have a book called Holdup (Roaring Brook) which is an ALA 2008 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. I’ve had a number of teachers write to me to tell me that it is a terrific read-aloud because of the way it is structured.

    I’d love to hear from you if it works well for you!

    Best of luck on a new school year!
    terri

    terri fields

  3. My 8th graders love DRUMS, GIRLS AND DANGEROUS PIE. It a blast for the person reading as well.

  4. great list–i read and bought Flying Solo on your rec.

  5. In response to your wanting to use The Giver:

    I think you have to first assess the maturity of the particular group. The Giver’s abstract concepts of love & free will make it a wonderful discussion book, but only if the group is capable. That said, I LOVED a debate that I held with my high achieving sixth graders each year. I divided the class into ‘free will’ and ‘safety for the good of all’ groups (can’t remember exactly what I called them). I also assigned a jury to come up with questions to ask each group. The lesson plan is rather long, but if you are interested, I’d be willing to send it you you.

    P.S. Lowry is one of my all-time fave authors :-)
    http://thewildrumpusstarts.blogspot.com/

  6. Tasses- I would love to see that lesson plan! (thereadingzone (at) gmail (dot) com

    I love THE GIVER, but I have to use it as it is a district requirement. However, the way I use it depends on the maturity of the class. Usually by that point in the year (halfway through) I can scaffold a lot and really get into some great discussions. I am considering doing something different this year, though. Something like having two separate groups- one reading THE GIVER and one reading GATHERING BLUE. Then reading MESSENGER as a group. It’s a thought I am throwing around right now.

  7. We were definitely thinking along the same lines — I posted an article on the same day you did about read alouds I was considering for my 5th graders this year!

    What do they say about great minds think alike? :)

  8. [...] your toddler: make a duck sound like a duck! If you need some ideas, go to Sarah’s List of Possible Read-Alouds in the Reading [...]

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