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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

View From the 5th Grade Trenches: August 2012 - Suggestions Please

Now that the new school year is upon us, my monthly feature:  View From the 5th Grade Trenches
where I crack open my classroom door so you can peek at life in 5th grade at a public school will be starting up again.

For the first installment of the 2012-2013 school year I'm going to pick your brains.

What books should I read aloud to my class this year?

I am thrilled to open the year with:


Stand by, Lee for a barrage of questions and comments from my new crop of 5th graders.

I am seriously toying with the idea of following that with:


since I have a "thing" about kids being exposed to the book before they see the movie.

And now, it's your turn.

What is a MUST READ for my kiddos this year?

40 comments:

  1. How about a classic and a popular contemorary?

    Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge.

    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer

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  2. I read The Hobbit last year to my class for that reason :) We don't start until after Labour Day and I don't know if my class will have mature enough listeners for the Hobbit before the movie though - we'll have to see.

    I love reading Maniac Magee early in the year too. I think my kids will love Lee's book as well. Terry Lynn Johnson's Dogsled Dreams is a BIG hit with my kids too!

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    1. I ADORE Maniac Magee, and Loser by JS. I remember your post on Dogsled Dreams. I'll have to get ahold of that one.

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  3. How exciting that you are starting with Lee's book! I am also thrilled to get a look at another 5th grade classroom. I am starting off the year with Wonder by RJ Palacio to help build a sense of community. I ask my student to vote every year on the books I should read to my class the following year and here are their thoughts: The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, or Holes by Louis Sachar.

    If you do read The Hobbit to them I will be curious to hear their thoughts. I can't remember when the movie is coming out...

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    1. What a great idea to have the kids vote. I bought 3 copies of Hugo Cabret last year for the classroom library. They barely touched the shelves before they were checked out again. Wonderstruck by BS is awesome as well.

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  4. I've heard good things about The Search for Wond-La by Tony DiTerlizzi and Interstellar Pig by William Sleator. And from my blog (and my son) I can recommend From the Mixed-Up Files (Konigsburg), Middleword (Voelkel), Breadcrumbs (Ursu), The Cabinet of Earths (Nesbet), Vanished (Chari), School of Fear (Daneshvari), Dust (Slade), and Earthling Hero (Miller).

    Have fun!

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  5. Great choices.

    I think two must-reads are When You Reach Me and The Mixed-Up Files.

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  6. The Hobbit is a great choice (though it would take you awhile). Some kind of mystery might be good--so they can speculate about whodunnit :)

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  7. I'll have to echo Medeia and Jeremy on two of their suggestions. I can remember clearly the teacher reading the Phantom Tollbooth when I was in fifth grade, and the fact that I can still remember it shows what an impression it made. I read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil M. Frankweiler on my own, but it was one of my favorite books of all time.
    -- Susan

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  8. how about the giver? These are awesome book choices, though :)
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. If I read the Giver, then I have to explain what "the stirrings" are. Blush.

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  9. Oh, the Hobbit!! Such a cool idea. :) Our school was never big on reading stories to kids, we were pretty test-oriented. Yikes. :(

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    1. Bethany, you've hit a problem dead on the head. When you're ten is it more important to learn how to lose yourself in a great story, or identify a dependent clause? Standardized tests are turning me old before my time.

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  10. I agree about the book before the movie. Definitely the only way. Harriet the Spy is my favorite fifth grade read-aloud. :) There's a Hair in My Toothbrush by Spenelli is a hilarious and very touching read. It may be a little old, though.

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    1. Sorry, it's WHO PUT THAT HAIR IN MY TOOtHBRUSH. I got confused with There's a Girl in my Headlock. Love Spinelli!

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    2. Oh Spinelli - how do I love thee.

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  11. The Phantom Tollbooth is awesome. Kai Strand's The Weaver might be a good one.

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  12. Jeremy, Mary, Susan - I've had Phantom Tollbooth on the brain.

    Susan (again), Medeia, Vicki - I just read Mixed Up Files... for the first time this summer. LOVED it. Another good choice.

    WOW everybody - great suggestions. I'm going to have to make a "greatest hits" list from your comments. I'm thinking some lit. circles would be good to expose the kids to more titles.

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  13. Yay for Alligators Overhead! I am THE worst person to ask this, because I know almost nothing about this group of books. But I look forward to hearing all the fun comments from your new class of lucky students. Lucky because you're their teacher!

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  14. Yes, definitely THE HOBBIT. I don't know the other one. Perhaps I should read it myself! :)

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  15. The Hobbit is one I say for sure two thumbs up.
    I agree that Cabinet of Earths is a good one as well.

    For some reason, I'm wondering if something from Fablehaven by B. Mull would be appropriate.

    Then there is The Mighty Miss Malone that I've heard is a wonderful read, as well as May B.

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  16. Oooh Hobbit. Are they old enough? I'm so bad at the MG thing. Even though I have kids in that age group!! LOL

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  17. I recently read Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver and loved it. It has multiple povs with both a boy and a girl, beautiful prose with great imagery. Very much a classic.

    From a small press: Hapenny Magick by Jennifer Carson is a lyrical version based on hobbit-like creatures with trolls!

    So many good ones!

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  18. The Hobbit would be a great choice. That is one of my all time favorite books. A blind woman had it memorized and would retell it to the kids in the library for story time. I'll never forget it.

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  19. Walden Pond has some great books to read especially to get the boys interested. Any of the Guys Read series would be good-the Thriller one would be perfect during October. My 15 yr old read Sports Pages in a week. That is an all time record for him since elementary school. He used to love reading until AR tests. That killed it for him. He doesn't read unless he has to. So the fact that he loved that speaks volumes.

    Also the Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom was laugh out loud funny. Great for boys and girls. Chained by Lynne Kelly which I have yet to review. Zip is coming out soon which I have read fantastic things about. Oh and the 100 Cupboards series by N.D. Wilson is a fantastic triogy! Don't forget classics like The Witch of Blackbird Pond (my all time fave) and has anyone ever read The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews? I loved that growing up.

    Heather

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    1. Awesome suggestions! I just had to comment because The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles has been a favorite of my 5th grade students for years. My 4th year a student told me about it, I read it and the class loved it. Every class voted for it to be read to the next year's class until last year! That says a lot. I want to go to Whangdoodleland. :)

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  20. I still have sharp memories of one of the books my fifth grade teacher read to the class: Alan & Naomi by Myron Levoy.

    Have you read Linda Urban's, A Crooked Kind of Perfect. That's a wonderful MG book.

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  21. I think The Hobbit is a fantastic choice! If you need a hook (as if!) to get them interested, you could always point out that it's going to be made into a movie soon too :)

    I was going to suggest A Wrinkle in Time but that might be more of a lower grade book... I'm not sure now. Hmm...

    I freaking love Inkheart. Again it might be better for grade 4... but maybe not. I adore the whole series.

    But definitely The Hobbit. Yes, yes, yes!

    ~ Rhonda

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  22. The Rock of Ivanore, of course! And I will be happy to come in to your class and read a chapter to them myself. :)

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  23. I'm trying to remember what I read when I was in 5th grade... I know I read all sorts of things that were way above my grade level.

    I think I would second some of the other commenters here, though - Phantom Tollbooth is a must read! Another one I might recommend would be Redwall - because if you once get them started on Redwall and they like it there are at least fifteen other books to read after that!

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  24. Oh I'm not sure what 5th graders read nowadays. Hmmm

    I think at that age I was reading Anne of Green Gables. Doubt boys would like it though. Unless they're sensitive, like Gilbert. :)

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  25. Glad to see C. Lee's book on the reading list. She'll be one of my blog guests in the next few days. When I was in school I don't remember teachers reading to the class after the 4th grade. It's cool that you are still doing it. There's something that adds depth to the book experience when read out loud.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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  26. There are so many good books to choose from.

    Love that Dog by Sharon Creech
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
    Joey Pigza Swallows the Key by Jack Gantos
    The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little
    Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

    Have a great year!

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  27. You do need to put together a greatest MG hits list!!! I thought I was pretty well read with MG, but after all these comment suggestions, I realize I'm not. Sort of ashamed I haven't read the Phantom Tollbooth yet.

    But def. go for the Hobbit. I also recommend Holes and The Mixed Up Files...

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  28. Whoa...I was typing away and my words disappeared. Anyway, I'm no help because I don't have 5th graders and don't keep up with what's current for that age group. Lots of others here do, though.

    Have fun!

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  29. My favorite read-aloud books, hands down, were Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen and Holes by Louis Sachar. I had eighth-graders, but I think they should work for the younger crowd. H&M has a lot of mild swearing for a humorous effect, but you can always edit it out with a wink. The kids will know what the book really says.

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  30. LOVE this! I mean, one of my sons is a fifth grader and I'm always wondering what books he can read! He's read the Hobbit already, but not the other one. ;) Thanks!!

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  31. OMG Me ALONGSIDE Tolkein! You floored me, Leslie. I'm so excited that your class is going on the journey into the swamp with Pete and Weasel. I look forward to their questions and how they felt about the book.

    I think Holes is another book they'd love. And Al Capone Does My Shirts. That's such a wonderful story. Good for 5th grade? They're going to love The Hobbit.

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  32. I love all Carl Hiaasen's books, as well as Jack Gantos' stuff. Good luck choosing!!! : )

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