Literature for a 6th Grade Gifted Class- Ancient HistoryHi everyone, My school is small, and there is a different teacher for 6th grade and 7th through 9th grade English.  Right now, the same...

Literature for a 6th Grade Gifted Class- Ancient History

Hi everyone,

My school is small, and there is a different teacher for 6th grade and 7th through 9th grade English.  Right now, the same textbook anthology is used by the novels are vastly different in complexity.  I am hoping to get some suggestions to add depth to the curriculum.  Since the class is taught by someone with a background in history, I was hoping for some selections that might line up the ancient world history curriculum.

Not all selections have to be history-based!

Thanks in advance!


Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is the list of books, plays, etc. that was given to me when I began teaching gifted 6-8 students. Surely something here will be appropriate for your school.  I know that certain parochial schools or schools with more conservative administrations don't always allow teachers to choose freely. You might ask students what they want to read, also.  Book shares are wonderful ways of introducing other students to good books, and it is still the way I choose some of my summer reading.   Good Luck!

Classics and historical fiction:
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
1984 by George Orwell
Animal Farm by George Orwell
A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The NeverEnding Story by Michael Ende
Poison by Chris Wooding

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
#1 The Golden Compass (published overseas as Northern Lights)
#2 The Subtle Knife
#3 The Amber Spyglass
- Lyra's Oxford (short story)
- The Book of Dust (2010)

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
- A Great and Terrible Beauty
- Rebel Angels
- The Sweet Far Thing

Young Wizards series by Diane Duane
#1 So You Want to Be a Wizard
#2 Deep Wizardry
#3 High Wizardry
#4 A Wizard Abroad
#5 The Wizard's Dilemma
#6 A Wizard Alone
#7 Wizard's Holiday
#8 Wizards at War
#9 Wizard on Mars (2008)

Uglies sequence by Scott Westerfeld
- Uglies
- Pretties
- Specials
- Extras

The Midnighters trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
- Secret Hour
- Touching Darkness
- Blue Noon

The Fallen quartet by Thomas E. Sniegoski
- The Fallen
- Leviathan
- Aerie
- Reckoning

Prowlers quartet by Christopher Golden
- Prowlers
- Predator and Prey
- Laws of Nature
- Wild Things

The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark
Force Majeure by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski
Say Goodnight, Gracie by Julie Reece Deaver
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser

Body of Evidence series by Christopher Golden and Rick Hautala
- Body Bags
- Thief of Hearts
- Soul Survivor
- Meets the Eye
- Head Games
- Skin Deep
- Burning Bones
- Brain Trust
- Last Breath
- Throat Culture

The Tillerman Cycle by Cynthia Voigt
- Homecoming
- Dicey's Song
- A Solitary Blue
- The Runner
- Come a Stranger
- Sons from Afar
- Seventeen Against the Dealer

Plays and poetry:
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
A collection of Emily Dickinson poems
The works of Sophocles
The works of William Shakespeare

Dr. Bob Seney's Top Ten books to Inpsire Gifted Middle School Kids (saw him at a Gifted Conference):

Caroline Cooney WHAT CHILD IS THIS
Robert Cormier FADE
Lois Lowery GATHERING BLUE**                                      Gary Paulsen DOGSONG
Katherine Patterson BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA
Cynthia Rylant THE VAN GOGH CAFE
Stephanie Tolan WELCOME TO THE ARK
Cynthia Voight A SOLITARY BLUE

*Whole series
**Painfully removed to make room for Gathering Blue: Anne McCaffrey’s DOLPHINS OF PERN in 2002. I love the whole Pern Series and there is a 2003 book in this series written with her son, [Dragon’s Kin] and this year Todd McCaffrey has written Dragon’s Blood. By the way, this was the first change in three years. There have been no changes since 2002.

Dr. Seney's Original Top Ten: Circa 1986
Katherine Patterson BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA
Robert Cormier EIGHT PLUS ONE

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wow! It's hard to add anything to amy-lepore's great posting. But I would second the addition to Homer's The Odyssey. Although the writing may seem a bit advanced for sixth graders, the story is full of exciting tales that should easily hold their interest. It is essential that many of the passages be read allowed and then discussed. An excellent film version (1997), starring Armand Assante as Odysseus, won two Emmy awards, and would be an excellent followup.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ancient world history and a study of the Greek classics such as The Iliad or The Odyssey certainly makes sense.  Some translations of these works are more difficult than others, so the teacher would need to do some research of various editions in order to choose one that is appropriate to the ability level of the students.  Perhaps whole works don't need to be taught, but the texts could but taught with specific attention to only certain selections.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So this might not be quite ancient enough, but it is certainly a good text that can be used in a number of ways.  If you look at Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart," the prose appears relatively straight-forward, but the study of it can be taken to great depth and certainly could be taken in all kinds of interesting ways for a group of inquisitive sixth graders.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I wonder if texts such as The Bronze Bow would be useful for the Ancient History aspect. This excellent novel seems to combine so many disciplines, including religion, politics and ethics, so it can be definitely used to provoke lots of great discussions. My only hesitation is that it might not be challenging enough.

catd1115 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What about introducing them to a little Shakespeare? Antony and Cleopatra or Julius Ceasar. My 7th graders all read Julius Ceasar and they love it! There are lots of versions for middle school readers out there if you are interested! Good Luck!