I need some suggestions for novels for my juniors to read in their ability grouped classes. I have two levels.
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I love the Star Girl books by Jerry Spinelli. After all the heavy reading we've done in my honors English class, I plan to end the semester with Star Girl. I've used it with low-ability groups, mixed-ability groups, and next with my advanced kids.
My district has a protected reading list of titles for each grade level. We can't teach in the 11th grade any book that is on the 12th grade list. However, we can go backward; for instance, if my 10th graders have never studied "The Outsiders," which is on the 8th grade list, then I can use it. So try using some books that they may not have read yet, such as "A Separate Peace" or "The Giver" or "To Kill a Mockingbird." Believe it or not, "Fahrenheit 451" has been popular among students at my school this year.
I try and include some modern novels. Like Michael Crichton or Stephen King. Something that will entice the boys who are especially hard to get reading.
I taught 7-8 grade reading for middle school for 10 years and these are book that the kids loved to read... (some have already been mentioned):
December Stillness by Mary Downing Hahn
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
Shades of Gray (Historical Fiction)
A Wrinkle in Time
Sign of the Beaver
My Brother Sam is Dead by J Collier and C Collier (Historical Ficition - graphic at times during war/raid scenes: set during the Revolutionary War)
Something Upstairs by Avi (Historical Fiction)
Nothing But the Truth by Avi (Play Novel -- Goes along with our 1st Amendment Rights)
RgSheats, Cassville MO
I tutor English in Puerto Rico. My ninth grade students have to read "The Odyssey" and it's a task to help them undestand. Most of my students are not good readers so I try to find the Spanish translation so that they have a good understanding of what the story is about. Then we read it in English and review a the plot, characters, etc. It would help a lot if I had a more visual text. There are movies but movies often add or take away from the written word. I'm open to any new ideas. Hands-on teaching works wonders with most students when it comes to anything but literature. Any ideas? Thanks.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
A Seperate Peace
Night which can be the higher level while the lower level reads Number the Stars, then both groups still have a common ground for discussions.
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Why not do a survey and see if you can match a book to some of their preferences?
Some good pairings for juniors might be:
The Great Gatsby and Bodega Dreams
As I Lay Dying and Mudbound
Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea
The Diary of Ann Frank and Maus (graphic novel)
Invisible Man and Incognegro (graphic novel)
Each pairing tells a similar story yet from varying perspectives.
Have you considered reading Rick Riordans, "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series? The first book is "The Lightning Thief" it is a VERY good read that I would recommend to anyone. Especially if you enjoy Greek Mythology and such. Even my Fifth Grade sister has read these books and enjoyed them tremendously.
Well have you tried Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" Series? I myself have read them and they are very very good. Plus a book called Unwind that my class has read it was very interesting.
To echo the suggestions of #2 I have had great success with The Giver and also with A Separate Peace. I personally really enjoy Fahrenheit 591 though I have never taught it. However, The Giver especially has been a great hit with my students and is written in easily accessible language and could be studied at a number of different levels. Good luck!
My juniors have really had a lot of say about The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. It is a great mix of fiction, non-fiction, and meta-fiction, that keeps the students are their toes and challenges what they think they know or have learned about reading and writing. They like that it feels modern with its subject matter and style.
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