Tag Archives: middle school

Read Aloud Round-Up: The 10 Books I Suggest Most for Middle School Read Alouds

It is perhaps one of the most gratifying parts of my job: when a teacher comes into the library, practically jumping up and down because their read aloud is going so well- and I was the one to suggest the book they are reading.

I have a few qualifications for a good read aloud.

First, it can’t be very long.  I have ADD.  And I’m a fast reader.  If a book runs too long, I will abandon it half way through and leave the kids hanging.  That’s not good.

Second, it needs to be suspenseful.  Every chapter should offer some action or important information.

Third, it can’t have too much detail.  That gets real boring real fast.  I understand that detail is great when you are reading to yourself, but for a read aloud? No.

These are the tried-and-true titles.  The ones that multiple teachers have used multiple times and have always found them to work.

1. The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

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2. Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

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3. Juvie Three by Gordon Korman

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4. Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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5. How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg and Kevin O’Malley

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6. The Shadow Club by Neal Shusterman

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7. Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

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8. Read All About It by Jim Trelease (this one was especially good for my Read-Aloud ADD)

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9. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (some classics never get old)

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10. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

when-you-reach-meIf you decide to do any of these, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  As a matter of fact, I think you’ll love them!

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Reading Strategies: Posters for Middle School and High School (that aren’t cheesy!)

One thing I always struggled with in the classroom was finding posters that weren’t too young for my kids.  There are so many resources out there for elementary teachers.  For middle school teachers? Not so much.  Thank goodness my husband is a graphic artist, right?

We made up these strategy posters a few years ago, and I absolutely loved how clean and nice they looked on the wall.  I went for a homey, interior design look in my room, so these helped.

 

 

Synthesize Visualize Ask Questions

 

 

 

 

Determine Ideas Infer Make Connections

 

 

 

 

I don’t use them anymore (more into the READ posters now, of course!), and I love to share.  I thought it would be a shame for these to go to waste.  They print up nicely on 11×17 paper.  I went to the office store, and I think it cost me like 2 bucks a piece to print them.

I couldn’t figure out how to link the file right to the image, so click below for the PDFs.

Enjoy!  I hope you like them!

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Visualize copy

Synthesize copy

MAKING CONNECTIONS copy

Infer copy

Determine Imp Ideas copy

ASK QUESTIONS copy

 

Five Titles I Can’t Wait to Book Talk This Year

With the school year almost upon me, and a lot of free time on my hands (I am sitting in my recliner, recovering from a septoplasty), I am starting to get really excited about all of the great books I have read over the summer. Net Galley has certainly been kind to me.

While I have definitely worn out the new “New Adult” genre this summer (I kinda hate it now), I have also read a ton of great books in my favorite genre- Young Adult. I love reading YA for two reasons- first, the YA authors out there are putting out some really great stuff that isn’t all depressing or pretentious like adult fiction can get. Second, I LOVE being able to bring YA to my middle school readers that is just appropriate for them… that’s the stuff that they really get excited about reading. My eighth grade boys were drooling over titles like World War Z and Rot and Ruin a couple of years ago, and I like to keep it coming.

Without further adieu…

41TzYsSC84L._SY300_Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone. So many sequels fall flat or completely lose the tone of the first book, but this is an awesome sequel to Time Between Us. Since I am Bennett’s age, I love reading from his point of view, too. Going back to 1995, in my hometown (Chicago), is pretty cool- and I love the fact that teachers and librarians can talk to kids about when we grew up without sounding stupid.

51ZhFCzTS9L._SY300_The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. This is another sequel, but I have to say- Maggie Stiefvater is probably the best paranormal writer for teens out there right now. The Shiver series sees a ton of circulation every year, and now the Raven Boys has seen the same kind of popularity. I like the fact that Stiefvater’s heroines aren’t weak and her narrative voice doesn’t make kids sound stupid.

41SzknL9faLKindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman. So many books touch on the insecurities of girls, but not many capture the real emotions that go through boys’ heads these days- and so realistically. I actually felt the dirt under my fingernails as I read this one. The tone of the book is so gritty and the way in which the protagonist interacts with the world will resonate with introverts everywhere- whether down-and-out like this guy, or not.

51xb9EOj5HLThe Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston. I have read a couple of Witness Protection program books lately, and I watched My Name is Earl from start to finish with my son this summer, so I feel like an expert on the genre (insert sarcasm icon here). This one surprised me. I love the fact that this isn’t action- it is a classic mystery. Mystery is a genre that so often gets bogged down by paranormals and sci fi. When I find a good one that is just a good mystery, I hang on to it. I will be hanging on to this one for sure.

51g07mPX-7LBeing Henry David by Cal Armistead. Like number three, this is a “boy book” that isn’t cheesy. Even boys can only handle so many teenage spy books.  I loved this book when I read it a while back, and it stuck with me. Who doesn’t like a good amnesia mystery? The fascinating thing about this book is the fact that it is a mystery and a coming of age story wrapped in one beautiful, lyrical package. When I want boys to read deeper and experience more, I will turn to this one first.

I hope Net Galley keeps em coming, because I get a lot of my best stuff because of them.  I can’t justify buying YA for my middle school library unless I have a chance to read it first, you know?  If you like hearing about YA that is just appropriate for middle schoolers, let me know in the comments or “like” this post and I will keep the suggestions coming.  🙂  Thanks!

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Freebie Friday! Reader’s Workshop Minilessons!

Happy Friday!

A couple of years ago, I compiled a number of sources to come up with a minilesson PowerPoint that I knew would last for weeks. I did NOT present this entire PowerPoint in one day. I used a couple of slides each day for weeks.

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In order to really understand this PowerPoint, you need to watch Shrek. I know, I know… but really! Shrek is an awesome point of reference for pretty much any literary device you can possibly think of. When I started teaching, I could count on the fact that everyone had seen it. Later on? Not so much! So… I showed Shrek. Early in the year. It was great! For the rest of the year, we all had a common point of reference when talking about literary elements and devices. So, these slides all refer back to Shrek.

It worked. Really. The kids totally, totally got it. Trust me. 🙂

Reader’s Workshop Minilessons

Have a great weekend! Check back next week for another Freebie Friday!

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