Any idea why and for what grade it is appropriate to teach Messenger written by Lois Lowry?

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kschweiz's profile pic

kschweiz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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The Messenger has a Lexile score of 720, making it appropriate for approximately fourth-grade level readers in terms of difficulty.

Commonsensemedia.org suggests the book for age ranges 9 and up, citing a lack of innocence in characters, questionable morality, and violent plants (trees in the Forest attack the characters; one dies). Parents and educators on the same website suggested the title for ages 12 and up.

This book does not provide any sort of resolution to The Giver, and one major issue that readers will face is the death of a major character. It also poses the issue of humanity destroying the world, which is one that might be difficult for students to relate to unless they are a little older. Approaching these topics effectively in class might make it easier to present the text to a slightly younger group.

In the area of Indiana where I teach, most schools use this series from 4th-6th grade.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The book is beautifully written and has complex themes like the other two in the trilogy. What I like about the book is that it requires students to analyze dystopian ideas, but they are presented with a simple story and simple language. Students in middle grades or upper elementary will not have a problem with the book, and older middle school students will not feel instead by it. Lowry's books are still taught well into middle school for just this reason. There is enough of what I call meat to challenge readers, even if the reading level is low. This is why it is an excellent book for low-level, high interest.

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