Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsberg created a new blog called Unleashing Readers. It’s designed to help teachers find the resources they need when teaching reading and various types of literature. A group of us (teachers) have been asked to participate in a blog hop and share a few of our favorite books that we use for different types of reading.
1. My favorite read aloud–This is a tough one because I’ve read so many books aloud and I always get a different reaction from every class. Right now Boy 21 by Matthew Quick and The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate are tied. They couldn’t be more different in terms of audience, plot, and characters, but my students have loved both for many reasons. And I love reading them aloud and how I feel while reading them.
2. My favorite close read/analysis book–I’ve been thinking about this one for a few days now, and I’m still not sure. My YA Lit students read Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn and almost every time I teach that class, my students find something different to discuss or analyze. We spend a lot of time comparing Nick in the past (based on his journals) and Nick in the present (after the restraining order). We also discuss his future, his family background, how society reacts to stories like his, and so on.
If I’m choosing a classic, I think I’d go with Lord of the Flies and Hamlet.
3. My favorite lit circle/book club book–I’m honestly still navigating lit circles because I never feel like I get them right. A lit circle book works best when there’s plenty to discuss. According to my students, it can’t drag on and be too slow either. My YA Lit II students appeared to really enjoy discussing Unwind by Neal Shusterman in their lit circles. There are multiple points of view, plenty of big issues, lots of action, diverse characters, etc.
4. My favorite book for my classroom library–I had to pack up all of my books this summer because many of us are switching classrooms, myself included. I counted up my books and I think the final total ended up around 1,300. So this is a tough one to decide on because I have so many books to choose from! I’m cheating, again, and choosing more than one. My favorite book for girls who want to read something edgy even though they don’t like reading would be Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. It hooks them almost every single time, but this is a TOUGH read. I’ve had more than one student put it back, but almost all of those girls want to read another book after they finish it. For my boys who need something funny to hold their attention, I am choosing Swim the Fly by Don Calame and Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach. Both are funny books that hook my reluctant guys, but there’s also something more than humor in each book.
5. My favorite book in general–I don’t have kids yet, but that is like asking me to choose a favorite child. Oh my goodness. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was one of the books I read for my college YA Lit class and it struck a cord with me. I remember being so disappointed that I wasn’t going to be in class the day we discussed this one because I had so much to say about it. After finishing it, I wanted to read more books like it. I’ve read it aloud multiple times to my freshmen classes. Laurie Halse Anderson was the first author I’ve Skyped with. Whenever a new edition of Speak comes out, I buy it. I don’t connect with it on a personal level, but it stayed with me.