What is one of the best literature books to order for 7th grade English?

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Our seventh grade students read Where the Red Fern Grows. Most of them enjoy it and the teacher does a good job with the book and activities to go with it.

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I like the previous post's discussion of textbooks.  I would like to suggest that along with the use of a text, it might be really interesting to engage in a study of poetry with seventh grade students.  I have yet to see a comprehensive study of poetry integrated into the curriculum as something more than "a unit of a couple of weeks."  I am sure that part of this reticence is NCLB and other Standards Based measures.  However, I think that teaching poetry in a complementary manner to a reading curriculum might enhance much of student understanding at the seventh grade level, where abstraction of thought is beginning to emerge in their minds.  This makes poetry a developmentally sound component of any lesson.  For example, in reading a story about a conflict between individual and society, why not read a poem that highlights such a conflict?  It might take some time to briefly give background knowledge about a poet, but I think it forges the connection.  In teaching history, I try my best to identify a poem that hits on major themes that I am highlighting and students are taken aback by abstraction of though in poetry.  It is difficult to start up, but if consistent, it is something that students respond to as they begin to see connections between content in a new and innovative way.

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I am most familiar with the Prentice Hall Literature collection. This book is well organized and contains every genre of literature, thought provoking questions, a "reader's notebook" workbook for extended reading activities, and a comprehensive glossary.  It is a text-book, but it is the series my county has chosen for grades 1-12. Of course there is lots of support on the web, and the book is available on CD-rom as well.

McGraw Hill offers the Reader's Choice series which again is a survey of literature with a focus on building vocabulary.

Holt McDougal offers McDougal Littell Literature which is a comprehensive survey tied to media presentations. The blurb states it invites students to explore art, literature and life's big questions.

Any publisher of textbooks will have access to the standards and the requirements of the NCLB, so that will help you in your decision making process.  The only thing I would recommend is remember that you want to actually do some of the exercises from the reading text as well as from the companion workbook.  The publishers normally put colorful pictures on the left so that while you are flipping through the book, you see the "pretty pictures". You want more than that in a literature series that will be adopted for 3-5 years.

For new literary classics I would choose either A Year Down Yonder or It's a Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck for 7th grade reading.  These are realistic fiction and hillariously funny books. Youngsters might relate to a great-grandmother who is still living.

Next as a literary classic I would choose Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson or Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. These are fairly easy reading with an exciting story of adventure and survival.  Young people can relate to Treasure Island with the recent Pirates of the Carribean films.

You might want to check with your school district's requirements as to what the selections already are for your class.

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Books that are often covered in 7th grade English are:

 

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Outsiders by SE Hinton

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

 

Those are a few that I would recommend that would be quality literature for seventh graders. Hope this helps!

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