Someone recently asked me what I'll be reading aloud to my 5th graders this coming school year. I wasn't exactly sure, but that question got me thinking, and I have made a list of possibilities, and the reasons I might choose them. Please check out my list, and then leave your read aloud thinking for this year in the comment section. We'd love to hear from you!
Karen's list of possibilities:
1) City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau -- The movie is coming out this fall, and it would be great to read the book to children so they can experience the story as Jeanne DuPrau meant it to be, before they see it as a movie. Plus, it is also fun to get kids psyched for a movie that originated from a quality children's book.
2) No Talking by Andrew Clements -- The reason to love this book is that Clements really knows how to write books that kids can relate to -- the problems and settings are all ones with which they are familiar. I read this to my class last year, and they loved it!! They had fun trying some of the no talking activities the students in the book experience. The one downside I see to this book is that because Clements is such a commercial name, I might have a lot of students who have already read this book themselves. While I am a huge advocate of re-reads and don't shy away from books that might have been read by a few, when I'm choosing a read aloud, I want to choose a book that most children have not already read themselves.
3) Leepike Ridge by N. D. Wilson -- This book is a great action adventure / survival book. Boy trapped in an underground cave with a dog, water rising in the cave, boy encounters a dead body, boy is saved by a man who has been living underground for quite a while, secret chambers underground, treasure hunters who are bad guys -- what is not to like?!!
4) Kids in 5E & 1 Crazy Year (review) by Virginia Frances Schwartz -- A huge thank you to Bill's sister for sharing this title with him! Anytime a book can talk about the impact of a writing workshop on an entire classroom community, I'm a fan!! I'd love for my students this year to see the correlations between the kids in 5E and themselves.
5) The Gollywhopper Games (review) by Jody Feldman -- What a fun, fun book to share with children! Years ago, I used to love to read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my students. They would get lost in the enjoyment of the fantastical world of the Wonka Chocolate Factory. The Gollywhopper Games is just like that, but updated and better. What a fun, entertaining book to read with an entire class! And the challenges throughout the book would be great to try to solve together.
6) The Magic Thief (review) by Sarah Prineas -- While I can't wait to share this new fantasy with my class, I don't think it will be my first read aloud. The second book in this series should be coming out sometime in 2009, so I'd like to time this read aloud for closer to that time. I think many children will be very excited to know they could get their hands on the next book in a timely manner. The Magic Thief is such an accessible fantasy book for children. It has the big book look without all the difficulty of big book fantasy. I really like this book!
7) How to Steal a Dog OR Greetings from Nowhere (review) by Barbara O'Connor -- Here is an author that knows how to write a fabulous book with wonderful characters. I will definitely be reading one of these great books because I want to make sure my students are introduced to this author. I think my kids need to know about an author whose next book is titled The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis!!
8) Along Came Spider (review) by James Preller -- That's right, the same James Preller that wrote the Jigsaw Jones mystery series. Only this time, the mystery is how children that don't fit a "typical" child's profile manage to survive school among some of the cruel children. This book is a fabulous opportunity to talk with kids about differences, and how to celebrate them instead of taunting them.
9) Dog Gone (review) by Cynthia Chapman Willis -- Most kids love animals, and this is the perfect book for them. What do you do when the dog you love may be a dog gone bad, and is starting to kill the neighbors' livestock? What do you do when your mom died six months ago, and you can't accept that fact, and didn't even attend the funeral? The main character in this book has to work through these two problems, as well as some others. I envision great conversations about the line between right and wrong, and why that line can be blurred for some people at times.
10) Love That Dog / Hate That Cat (review) by Sharon Creech -- I've read an ARC of Hate That Cat, and loved it! Reading these two books together could lead to some great discussions about sequels. In additon, both stories are entirely written in verse, which is a new favorite genre for me. Also, the inferring skills that readers have to use to make sense of the text could make for interesting thinking and conversation.
Well, there you have it -- my thinking about possible read alouds as of August 12. I'm going to make a quick disclaimer, and say this list does not include all the many picture books I read to my students for a variety of reasons.
So, what do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Have some other suggestions? Drop us a note, and let us know what you think.
Happy read alouds to all!!