Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Favorite Books for the Beginning of 5th Grade

I wanted to spend some time this week showcasing some of my favorite books to use during the first few weeks of school. While I used these in 5th, I feel that these books could be appropriate in grades 4-6. These are books I've used many times to introduce specific reading strategies.

These are all a good double-punch, because they are amazing for teaching foundational reading strategies, but they also hook students into great literature and help students become interested in various authors and titles.

So, here are the titles I love, and then I'll tell you a bit more detail about just one of them today...

Chicken Sunday is a great book to teach metacognition, summary and conflict-resolution.

Pink and Say is SO powerful. I have never read this to my class without getting misty eyed. I use it to teach metacognition and summarizing. It is also a great book to use for teaching theme. 

Sarah Stewart and David Small teamed up to produce 2 beautiful books written entirely in letters in The Gardener and The Quiet Place. Both books are wonderful for teaching inferring and drawing conclusions. I usually use one for modeling and then put one in a literacy station...more on that later this week.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an old favorite, and it is wonderful for teaching visualizing. I'll post how I taught that lesson later this week.

Finally, Among the Hidden. 

I want to focus on this book today...Y'all, when I read this a few years ago I finished it in a day because I was pretty into it. It intrigued me as I was reading, and made me question things in a natural way.

I believe learning with good literature should be organic. Great literature is not literature written for the purpose of teaching "questioning" as it sometimes seems to be in basal readers...rather, great literature naturally leads our minds to question, predict, confirm, question, predict, confirm. 

This book is the first text I use to introduce questioning. I usually put the book on the document cover and have students brainstorm/write on scratch paper a few questions that they come up with from only seeing the front cover. Then, share with elbow buddies or partners. 

Who is the boy? Is he hiding? Who is in the window? Are they trying to catch him? Etc. Students will amaze you with what they come up with. 

After sharing questions as a group, I use the first few pages of the book to model metacognition and questioning to my students. I do think-alouds, etc. 

It is the perfect text for introducing questioning. Bonus, the book is suspenseful and interesting very early on. So, I usually read aloud the first few chapters of the book during that week. Then, I found that many of my students sought this book out to finish on their own. Love that!

TEKS ADDRESSED: Reading/Comprehension Skills. FIGURE 19: Students use a flexible range of metacognitive reading skills in both assigned and independent reading to understand an author’s message. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater depth in increasingly more complex texts as they become self- directed, critical readers. The student is expected to:

(A) establish purposes for reading selected texts based upon own or others’ desired outcome to enhance comprehension;
(B) ask literal, interpretive, evaluative, and universal questions of text; 

I can't wait to share more on the other books with you this week!

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