Read-Aloud for High SchoolHi guys, Background:  I teach intensive reading in a high school in Florida.  My students are 11th graders who were unsuccessful on their first (and second) attempts at...

Read-Aloud for High School

Hi guys,

Background:  I teach intensive reading in a high school in Florida.  My students are 11th graders who were unsuccessful on their first (and second) attempts at passing the state assessment for reading.

I like to use read-alouds in my class to start off the period.  I read The City of Ember during the first semester, but I felt it was a little dull in places for them.  So now I'm looking for another book to read.  Most of the books I have read myself are too long for a read-aloud; I'd like it to be a novel, but a shorter novel.  It can be high-school level because I will be reading it TO them, and their own levels are at middle school or below (for the most part).

So, I'm looking for suggestions for books!  Any ideas?

19 Answers | Add Yours

mizzwillie's profile pic

mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

I agree with using both the books Bronx Masquerade and Monster for read-aloud, both ask the students to think about kids their own age.  I think reading aloud is a good idea if you want to illustrate stopping to think while reading; questioning what will happen next; what does this word mean; etc. 

I also used to take small practice readings with questions attached from off the state practice web site and use them, showing the students where to find the answer, then letting them practice.  Eventually, I gave them a practice which had an inference question, which was easy to miss, had them do it alone, then bring the paper to me where I would only answer "yes, you have it correct" or "no, you don't."  I would not tell them which of the several answers was incorrect, only that it wasn't completely right.  This forced them to really look for what were clues to the inference questions.  Eventually, I let them work with other students to get it right, band this was very effective. 

My students, even the very low kids, scored well on the state test.  Having learned to read carefully and then look at the articles carefully, they did well.  Good luck as I know they get discouraged easily.  I would read aloud, but I also would teach the skills of key words, finding inferences, etc.

amy-lepore's profile pic

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

Posted on

I love Alas, Babylon!  It is set in Florida, so your students will like it even more.  It deals with a family who responds to and survives a nuclear bomb.  It's great fun and a fabulous lesson in survival.

pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Have your students read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger?  It is a favorite in High School.  I use in my 11th grade English Class, and we read aloud everyday.  The kids really get into the story because it is about a 16/17 year old boy and his adventures over a three day period.  But there are some curses in the book, I think that this is what they enjoyed most of all, to be able to read these words in class without any consequences.

Also, Animal Farm, by George Orwell, it is a short book and it is a very engaging story.  I am using it in 10th Grade.

Good Luck!

jessecreations's profile pic

jessecreations | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Thanks for all of your suggestions, everyone.

In answer to some of the questions, the read-aloud is a proven method for reading instruction.  My students DO read on their own; they have independent reading books that they read almost every day in my class, and they complete projects on the books when they finish reading them as well as weekly active reading notes.  However, I add the read-aloud to model proper reading strategies and to demonstrate the behaviors of good reading.  It also gives us a common book to read together without me having to find a class set of a novel for them, since they are all in my class in addition to regular English courses.  Most students enjoy the read-aloud, and it gives them a period of "settling down" when they come into the classroom, so their brains can adjust to reading and be ready to work when the read-aloud session is over.

Thanks again, everyone!

Jessica

rshaffer's profile pic

rshaffer | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

I would be careful in teaching two of the books suggested in post #13, Their Eyes are Watching God and BelovedTheir Eyes are watching God could give students trouble with dialect. You indicated that you want to find a novel to read out loud; this novel could present a clarity problem with students.  Also, the novel Beloved is a very mature novel.  Depending upon the level of your students, I would use great caution with this one.

ms-charleston-yawp's profile pic

Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

I'd love to know more about the students before suggesting a pertinent novel, but I would be happy to suggest a few that have held my own students spellbound.  How about Their Eyes Were Watching God, Beloved, The Outsiders, or even Roots?  If you don't mind reading to them at a lower level, then any of the Harry Potter series might work as well.  It might be to your advantage to poll their interests first and then choose accordingly.  Good luck to you!

rshaffer's profile pic

rshaffer | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

I would suggest The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom.  It is a quick and easy read, and it promotes great discussion about the fact that all humans are connected in some way.  Students really seem to enjoy this novel.

litchick2011's profile pic

litchick2011 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

There are a few places with profanity, but Of Mice and Men is always a classic. I have taught it with 10th graders for years, and the majority have really enjoyed it. It is also a very easy read, with or without an audio CD.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

How about The Road or Speak? I've recently read these books and am very impressed with each--especially Speak. It is about a girl who was raped just before the start of her freshman year of high school. The book written as if it were her journal and relates her slide into depression and rise back out of it. It's really powerful reading

thewanderlust878's profile pic

thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

Posted on

Depending on what type of books you wish to read, there are many different options you could choose from. 

If you wish to read upper-level books that are perhaps older, I would choose The Great Gatsby or Anna Karenina. 

However, many high school students feel that classic books are perhaps not as exciting or easy to follow as some other books that are more age-appropriate. 

Examples of books that are made for teens that would keep them engaged include Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, or The Mortal Instruments. 

mandishsa's profile pic

mandishsa | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I, too, am shocked at those who disagree with your reading aloud to your students. I'm just hoping that they are not educators...

I've used A Child Called "It" with my remedial high school students. It's not very well-written, but the content is so shocking and the book is short enough that it keeps their attention really well.

I also read The Hunger Games to them. This one is my favorite! Every single day they are begging for more! (Catching Fire, though, isn't nearly as fast-moving, so I suggest not reading that one--just recommend it to them for their independent reading.)

I'm looking for more ideas. I want books that are fast-moving and suspenseful to keep the students engaged. I also want books that don't have a lot of swearing or sexual situations. Not that I don't think my students should be reading that stuff, I just don't feel very comfortable reading that out loud to them.

ksimonson's profile pic

ksimonson | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I was looking through the postings to get ideas for more books to read aloud to my Creative Writing class.  I was shocked at the negative comments about reading aloud to students.  Just because I read aloud to them doesn't mean I don't expect them to read on their own.  For creative writing it's good to hear how a given author puts words and phrases together; it's good to hear sensory images that are well-written; it's good to lose oneself in a story for 10 minutes a day.

I have been teaching for over 30 years--junior high and high school--and still have students coming back telling me they remember voices I used or stories I read that made things come alive.  Somehow many of us have the mistaken idea that once kids pass primary grades we no longer need to read aloud to them.  I like to hear myself read; I think I'm a competent reader; I like to use the day's reading as a launch for work we are going to do in class.  (And by reading aloud, it often is NOT a required curricular reading) The more we can model reading as a pleasurable activity, the better off we are.

I'll exit my soapbox soon, but please don't assume reading aloud is equal to 'dumbing down'.  I'd say it enhances learning and appreciation of literature far more than it deters or spoon feeds kids.  I love getting to "the good part", stopping for the day, and having kids beg to continue just a little bit more!  (these are honors kids, by the way)

I cvouldn't agree MORE with you. I actually was stunned at people's response to reading aloud. Reading aloud is such a great way to grab kids!! I read aloud to my 9th graders, as well as my seniors!!

ksimonson's profile pic

ksimonson | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I have read: The Hunger Games. My high school kids (Grades 9-12) have LOVED it, and many have gone on to read the rest of the series.

I too, teach struggling readers...many of whom haven't read a book on their own since elementary school.

I have also read The Gun...which is a book in the Bluford Series. I love catching kids in books that have more for them to read.

I just finished Son of the Mob, by Gordan Korman.

I loved the advice from others. I'm going to try some of them!

stschida's profile pic

stschida | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I was looking through the postings to get ideas for more books to read aloud to my Creative Writing class.  I was shocked at the negative comments about reading aloud to students.  Just because I read aloud to them doesn't mean I don't expect them to read on their own.  For creative writing it's good to hear how a given author puts words and phrases together; it's good to hear sensory images that are well-written; it's good to lose oneself in a story for 10 minutes a day.

I have been teaching for over 30 years--junior high and high school--and still have students coming back telling me they remember voices I used or stories I read that made things come alive.  Somehow many of us have the mistaken idea that once kids pass primary grades we no longer need to read aloud to them.  I like to hear myself read; I think I'm a competent reader; I like to use the day's reading as a launch for work we are going to do in class.  (And by reading aloud, it often is NOT a required curricular reading) The more we can model reading as a pleasurable activity, the better off we are.

I'll exit my soapbox soon, but please don't assume reading aloud is equal to 'dumbing down'.  I'd say it enhances learning and appreciation of literature far more than it deters or spoon feeds kids.  I love getting to "the good part", stopping for the day, and having kids beg to continue just a little bit more!  (these are honors kids, by the way)

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