Question Detail

Suggestions for middle school read-aloud books?

Jan 9, 2013 10:11am

  • English Language Arts
  • 6-8
  • Engagement


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    • Jan 22, 2013 10:56am

      An interdisciplinary unit that I teach incorporates dystopian novels, myths, and non-fiction texts where students engage in critically analyzing the relationship between power, authority, and governance. Students evaluate the tactics that governments use to suppress dissenting ideas; analyze the decisions people make when confronted with challenges to survive; compare historical figures who challenged authority such as Joan of Arc and the Greek legend, King Minos of Crete; and analyze how entertainment and power were combined in the Roman Empire. Through an analysis of Hitler’s rule in Germany during WWII, students also evaluated the power that a leader can hold through the use of inhumane treatment and fear.

      The novels the students read during this unit are The Hunger Games, Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, and City of Ember.

      • Jan 9, 2013 8:32pm

        Coraline by Neil Gaimon!

        • Jan 9, 2013 3:32pm

          I have hooked some struggling readers into reading a book themselves (Al Capone Does My Shirts - around a 4th grade lexile) by starting the book and stopping at a cliffhanger point. They willingly read the rest. I wouldn't recommend that title for advanced students, though. It just doesn't have enough grade-level vocabulary for them.

          • Jan 16, 2013 8:46pm

            The Shakespeare Stealer
            Adam of the Road
            A Wrinkle in Time
            Call of the Wild
            Waiting for Normal
            The Machine Gunners
            Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children
            Soldier X
            Snowbound (may be out of print)
            So You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton?

            • Jan 16, 2013 6:19pm

              Here are the read-alouds I've done this year, with great success (I teach 7th and 8th grade reading and ELA classes):

              Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie
              Among the Hidden
              Girl, Stolen (contains some mature material)
              The False Prince

              • Jan 17, 2013 3:12pm

                I am reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It is an amazing story that lends itself to many discussions. The book contains "precepts" or rules to live by that make excellent topics for journals. Also a great vehicle to discuss point of view and walking in someone else's shoes. A winner all around.

                • Jan 22, 2013 7:16am

                  I'm reading Michael Vey: Prisoner in Cell 23 to one of my groups right now and they love it. Some of the favorite new books in my MS library are: Girl, Stolen, Paranormalcy, Cinder, The False Prince, Out of my Mind, and Wonder. The latter two have great messages about understanding those with disabilities.

                  • Jan 28, 2013 8:48am

                    Freak the Mighty is a fantastic novel for middle school students. It has a rich vocabulary and great themes about perserverance, friendship, accepting differences...not to mention it has enough middle school humor that the students love it. I have read this with AP students to ECE students and they all love it. Also ties in well to the movie "The Mighty"

                    • Jan 10, 2013 1:26am

                      The One and Only Ivan (students really connect with Ivan, the gorilla, and good jumpstart for discussion about animal cruelty)
                      Wonder by R. J. Palatio (good jumpstart for talking about bullying, empathy, etc.)

                      • Jan 16, 2013 9:05pm

                        Great suggestions! I have found reading excerpts from A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer hooks the most reluctant readers. Additionally, The Outsiders has never failed to regin in the readers who claim they "hate reading".

                        • Jan 19, 2013 1:38pm

                          I found that when I read aloud LLoyd Alexander's The Book of Three then my students pursued the other titles in the series. It helped to hear all the Welsh names read aloud for the first round!

                          • Jan 21, 2013 10:48pm

                            This is probably a little singular, but I've read an excerpt from David Foster Wallace's 'Broom of the System' to teach kids about vanity. DFW can be extremely funny.

                            Though not typically 6th grade fare, I think there was some value in it.

                            I tried reading Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, and the language was too hard, for my students, who are from Asia so my students english is a little behind, but even so it might be too hard for native speakers too.
                            I loved it though and now I'm hooked on Sherlock Holmes.

                            My recommendation is to find stuff that's awesome for you and share. Sometimes it's too hard, and you adjust, but sometimes the rewards are great.

                            • Jan 26, 2013 10:00pm

                              One of my favourites - Stargirl. A great character with riveting individualism theme for Middle School, and wonderful wonderful writing style!

                              • Jan 16, 2013 6:40pm

                                I am reading Huckleberry Finn to my students. I find that some of them would never choose to read a Classic on their own so when I read this to it becomes a "not so intimidating" choice.

                                • Jan 17, 2013 8:43pm

                                  I have read Crash for 15 years and it never fails to hold the attention of my 6th graders.

                                  • Jan 19, 2013 2:27pm

                                    I read Hatchet and A Christmas Carol with the kids.

                                    • Jan 21, 2013 10:18am

                                      I have read aloud Old Yeller and taken more of a writing approach (literary response) to it since it is a lower reading level.

                                      I know 7th graders at our school have also read Sign of the Beaver aloud together as well.

                                      Good luck!

                                      • Jan 21, 2013 7:05pm

                                        The Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen is next on my list, and then the sequel, The Lawn Boy Returns. The book tells a story about a boy that makes "lemonade from lemons." I highly recommend this book!

                                        • Jan 23, 2013 11:46pm

                                          My fifth graders always love Sign of the Beaver!

                                          • Jan 25, 2013 3:56pm

                                            Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
                                            The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
                                            Wonder by J.R. Palacio
                                            Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
                                            Dreamer by Pam Munoz-Ryan
                                            Matched by Ally Condi
                                            Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller
                                            Junkyard Wonders (or any title) by Patricia Polacco

                                            • Jan 25, 2013 4:00pm

                                              Farewell to Manzanar. This book is a challenge for middle school students to read by themselves. I like to read this to the class while they read Bat 6. The two are wonderful together!

                                              • Feb 13, 2013 8:14pm

                                                This is my first year to teach ELA in 7th and 8th grade and I was amazed to see how excited and engaged my students were when we read Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper. It was AWESOME! This book explores social issues that inspire students to think!!

                                                • Jul 5, 2013 12:44am

                                                  In middle school I loved The Giver!

                                                  • Oct 4, 2013 9:45pm

                                                    Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks. It's a modern fable picture book but lends itself to deeply rich conversations about themes, characters, symbolism, word choice and imagery...great for a close read. Let's put it this way, I cried the first time our Teacher's College lit coach read it to our team.

                                                    Check it out:

                                                    • Nov 21, 2013 2:36pm

                                                      I love
                                                      The Rock and the River
                                                      Straw Into Gold Gary Schmidt
                                                      Lizzie Bright and the Bunkminsters Gary Schmidt