Tag Archives: read aloud

Moving beyond boxes: 6th grade read alouds

3 Sep

The boxes are all unpacked and I have begun really thinking about what will happen in my room this year. I have the luxury of teaching two 2-hour blocks of Humanities. We are committing to Writers’ Workshop for the first half of the block so I know that won’t feel luxurious all the time, but I want to get into the habit of reading aloud to my gifted 6th graders no matter what. I ave a couple of ideas about what I might read to them. And, I might decide to read something different to each class, to keep me sharp. Here are some books I am considering:

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Surviving a plane crash…surviving middle school… there must be some connection!

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Crash by Jerry Spinelli

Middle school…bullying …friends

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Unbroken  by Laura Hillebrand (the YA version)

resillience… a key to succeeding in middle school

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A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord

prejudice and friendship, loss and love and female main characters

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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

This might be old enough that they haven’t read it

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Small as an Elephant  by Jennifer Jacobson

RESILIENCE!!!

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Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

A beautiful story told in beautiful language

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Last Night & this morning

24 Apr

Stressed & exhausted, I took personal day yesterday, so I could go back last night for Literacy Night. The attendance wasn’t great, so each of the families that arrived got to choose a book for each child, rather than one book per family.

The evening was on a jungle animal theme and I had the joy of ordering the books. I chose these for the younger readers

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and these for older readers

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This morning, I am part of the team presenting to the staff about intentional read aloud and close reading. We are giving books to the staff too. They are getting

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After that I can relax. I got a big box of books this week full of Morris Award submissions and another box of yarn for a sweater I am knitting for me. It’ll be a rip-roaring weekend at my house.

Random book thoughts

9 Apr

I’ve been reading a lot for the Morris award lately and haven’t read as much else outside of school. At school, however, a lot is happening, so, I thought I’d share some of what I’m up to and thinking about.

Last week, a Scholastic order came in which included a paperback copy of Kate DiCamillo’s Flora and Ulysses.  It perplexed me at first. Something was not right. Then I realized they had changed to color of the cover. When I first  read the book, and when I read a student’s copy tot he class, it was fairly pink. The new cover on the paperback is more blue. It got me wondering if they’s changed it to encourage more boys to read it.

Before:                                                      After:

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In Reading, we are looking at nonfiction text right now and talking about a whole host of things. I’m using  Mosquito Bite by Alexandra Siy and Dennis Kunkel, as my intentional read aloud,

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My kids are so excited about this book. I’ve only read the first third but they are begging me to not do other work so they can hear the rest. Yup, I hooked them!

Finally, I just started R. J. Palacio’s Wonder, for my after lunch read aloud.

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This is not really on anybody’s radar. A few kids said they seen the book, but hadn’t read it and didn’t really know anything about it. PERFECT!! They loved Auggie’s voice from the start and I can see them wondering about what he looks like. We are looking for clues that the author is leaving for us.

My favorite time of day

17 Dec

We do all our heavy work before lunch: reading, Writing, math, Social Studies. Science, Health. The kids go to lunch at 12:10 and, because they have Specials immediately after lunch, I don’t see them again until 1:35. They come in, we fill out our planner and I do read aloud.

Read aloud is my favorite time of day. We’ve read four books since September:

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We finish Flora and Ulysses by Friday, and begin a new book when we come back in January.

I chose The Doll People when I heard there was a 4th book in the series. The boys in my class were skeptical, but I asked them to give it a chance and, of course, they loved it. In fact, we are writing letters for the Library of Congress’ Letters about Literature contest, a couple of boys are writing about that book. Just the other day, I said “Sock it to me” and I was rewarded by a chorus of mini Aretha’s. They learned about the RESPECT song because of The Doll People.

The fourth book is The Doll People Set Sail.

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Goodreads Summary:Annabelle Doll, Tiffany Funcraft, and their families are whisked out to sea when the Palmers accidentally place them in a box destined for charity donation. And it turns out they’re not alone-there are plenty of other doll people on the ship, too. After traveling thousands of miles, will they be able to find their way home?

The summary sounds a bit like the last Toy Story  movie, but this is way better. fans of the three previous books won’t be disappointed and, readers who haven’t read those books will bo OK, although I always recommend reading things in order because it makes more sense. Although I was disappointed that Brian Selznick is not the illustrator, Brett Helquist does an excellent job capturing the essence of the Doll/Funcraft family adventures.

If you are looking for a good series to give a middle reader, this is an excellent choice.

Read Aloud is My Superpower

21 Oct

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Read aloud is one of my favorite times of the school day. I’d forgotten that, not having had my own classroom for six years.  This year’s class is a handful. but they love read aloud too!  It is the one time there are no side conversations and my class LOVES to  have side conversations.

The first book I read to the this year was The Worm Whisperer  by Betty Hicks. I knew this class was special because they referred back to events and characters in it when we were talking about other things. One day, just before we left for a long weekend, I was talking to them about being sure not to forget their homework, which led to a discussion of having a regular homework time.We talked about how plans sometimes change on long weekends, so they should have their regular plan in place, but have a back up plan just in case. One student piped up and said “You shouldn’t be so rigid that you can;t break your own rules.”, or something to that effect. I asked where they learned that and they said, “From Ellis’ teacher in The Worm Whisperer.”  I was impressed.

We read Dear Mr. Henshaw next, which they loved, though they were a little hesitant to leave The Worm Whisperer  behind. A couple of kids have borrowed both of those books to reread them on their own.

Friday we started The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin. I wanted a book with a strong female lead and was reminded of this one by the recent publication of the 4th book in the series. The boys were not impressed by the cover. Too girly. By the time I reached the family sing-along I had hooked them. The Doll Family was son gong from Greatest Hits of the Sixties. I think it was my own singing of  R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and particularly the “sock-it-to-me ” chorus that really grabbed their attention. Apparently they didn’t know the song, so I played it for them, doing some silly movements with my head and hands. Just as the song finished, the principal was doing a walk-through with the custodian and the fire marshall. We all had a good laugh at that.

I enjoy watching their faces move from skeptical as I begin a new book, to entranced when I’ve hooked them.  I think read aloud might be my superpower.

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