Homework Help

Looking for some help refining my book choices for a literature enrichment class that I...

user profile pic

nszabo | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted November 10, 2010 at 10:37 AM via web

dislike 1 like
Looking for some help refining my book choices for a literature enrichment class that I teach.  Small group of boys and a small group of girls.

Girls just read "The Member of the Wedding" and the boys just read short stories by Ray Bradbury.  Want to try something very different this semester.  Considering "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" for the girls.  Thought about "The Scarlet Letter" but afraid language might be too stilted and difficult for this group of mainly 6th graders. For boys, I'm thinking about "The Old Man and Sea" together with "Of Mice and Men".  I really want to expose the kids to great writing by American authors.

9 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted November 10, 2010 at 11:45 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

I would say that The Scarlet Letter is way too hard -- even for talented 6th graders.  My honors juniors struggle with it!

I would think that To Kill a Mockingbird would be more appropriate for the age of your students and they could probably handle the reading.  The plot is multi-faceted and rich in details.  It would work equally well with boys or girls.

user profile pic

epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted November 10, 2010 at 4:34 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

It all depends on the choices that you have available as allowable from your school district and community. Once you have the allowable choices, ask students what they are interested in and try to give the students some freedom and responsibility in choosing their own books to read. It should help you cut down on what you have to do.

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 10, 2010 at 4:38 PM (Answer #4)

dislike 0 like

You have already started using some short stories by Ray Bradbury. I wonder if there are others that might be suitable that you could use. "Just Lather, that's all" is a great suspense story for boys. You might find some of the individual sections of The House on Mango Street suitable for the girls, but be careful about which ones you pick! Other books you might find work out well would be The Giver or The Bridge to Terabithia - both modern day classics.

user profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 11, 2010 at 11:53 AM (Answer #5)

dislike 0 like

Alas, Babylon is a good one for the boys (although my girls usually like this one, too).  It's about what life would be like in the US if we suffered a nuclear attack. 

Huckleberry Fin and Tom Sawyer are also good choices for boys, but know that there are issues in these books which may be offensive.  Racism, prejudice, the use of the "N" word.

Animal Farm is an excellent book to consider.  Steven King has an excellent collection of short stories you might think about using as well. 

Anything by Mark Twain is also wonderful.  His sense of humor is contagious, although it may take a little bit of practice for kiddos to get it.

user profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 11, 2010 at 3:43 PM (Answer #6)

dislike 0 like

Of your suggestions offered, I would already second the choices of Animal Farm and The Giver and To Kill a Mockingbird.

I would recommend for boys anything by Sherman Alexie or Chris Crutcher. These guys are great authors with a sense of humor that boys really get.

In addition, I would suggest Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. It has that Holocaust feel that really seems to draw the middle school age in because of the injustice.

user profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 11, 2010 at 7:58 PM (Answer #7)

dislike 0 like

I concur with many of these choices; however, I would like to add a cautionary note as a high school teacher who would one day have those students.  While I certainly don't want to hold gifted students back or keep them from reading excellent writing, I also don't want them bored two years down the road (or whatever) when they're reading those same works in class.  I'd encourage you to find out what's ahead of them and work around some of those selections to avoid repetition.  The good news?  There's lots and lots of good stuff out there that will never be covered in a high school classroom.  I applaud your efforts.

user profile pic

epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted November 11, 2010 at 11:53 PM (Answer #8)

dislike 0 like

So what book did you choose? I have used Johnny Tremain in almost all of my classes, regardless of where it is placed and in what category. That is one of the best books on character I have read in a while, and it has a great deal of intricate observations on colonialism with a very spirited Americans sense of adventure and courage.

user profile pic

kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 14, 2010 at 10:14 PM (Answer #9)

dislike 0 like

How about trying Frankenstein? I have been doing some extracts (good old Chapter 5) with my extension group. If you 'dip in' to classics you are less likely to cut across the texts used higher up. Bits of Great Expectations for characterisation and the social implications of parts of Gullivers Travels may go well too.

user profile pic

nszabo | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted November 16, 2010 at 10:37 AM (Answer #10)

dislike 0 like

I concur with many of these choices; however, I would like to add a cautionary note as a high school teacher who would one day have those students.  While I certainly don't want to hold gifted students back or keep them from reading excellent writing, I also don't want them bored two years down the road (or whatever) when they're reading those same works in class.  I'd encourage you to find out what's ahead of them and work around some of those selections to avoid repetition.  The good news?  There's lots and lots of good stuff out there that will never be covered in a high school classroom.  I applaud your efforts.

 Thank you so much for your input.  You know, I've been hesitant to explore books that this kids will get later in high school; just what you mentioned.  I do think they will get something new out of these books when they read them a few years later.  For example, I read "To Kill A Mockingbird" with my son and his friend last spring when they were in 7th grade, and I think it made a profound impression on both of them.  My son still talks about the book.  I don't regret reading it with them, even if they get it again in high school.  Your comment made me think harder about what I want to do with my enrichment groups.  I want to find literature that will inspire my students and feed their love of books.  I want them to read excellent, beautiful, unforgettable writing.  If I can find books that are both "out of the ordinary" and classic (by American authors), I'll be pleased.

Here's what I chose for this spring:

Girls:   "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"

Boys: "The Old Man and the Sea" and Stephen Crane's short story, "The Open Boat"

Again, I appreciate your help.

 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes