6th Grade Novels for low income students

Discussion in 'Sixth Grade' started by ucdhisteach, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. ucdhisteach

    ucdhisteach New Member

    Jul 15, 2010
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    Aug 2, 2010

    I'm social studies teacher, but this year I will be teaching 6th grade English/Language arts as well. I'm realllly excited about the position, but I desperately need some ideas for novels.

    My students are predominantly African American (approximately 85-90%), and low income (80%). Their reading levels are across the spectrum. I am hoping to find novels that my students can relate to and find meaningful.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    Thank you!
  3. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

    Aug 9, 2010
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    Sep 1, 2010

    I think it's a good idea to have some material with characters and author who reflect them (African American): Monster by Walter Dean Myers (and most of his books), Cousins by Virginia Hamilton, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, Vive Le Paris by Esme Raji Codell, Blessing in Disguise by Eleanora E. Tate, Elijah Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis, etc. Most of those books are award winners.

    Also, check out Angela Johnson's books.

    Another good one that I think is a big hit in that age group is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.

    The Outsiders, as well.

    Also, check out the Coretta Scott King Awards list for ideas about African American literature.

    At the same time, African American students can certainly find stories about other races, characters and stories relatable! What most would be considered a great novel by most kids would also be well-liked by your class. Good luck!
  4. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

    May 1, 2010
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    Sep 22, 2010

    I teach 6th grade language arts as well. Last year, we read Maniac Magee, which deals with race issues, and we also read Sounder. We read both of these as a class - each kid had their own copy.

    For my read-a-loud, There's a Dead Person Following My Sister Around was a HUGE hit with my kids. It's the kind of book they beg you to read "just one more chapter." It's about a present day little girl who is haunted by the daughter of an escaped slave. The haunted girl's brother finds their great-great grandmother's journal. The great-great g-ma was an abolitionist, and the journal tells about an escaped slave woman and her daughter who died a tragic death. Anyway, it's really good, and really short, so it's a good fit for some attention spans. ;)

    It seems like there are others we read last year - they aren't coming to mind, though. It's been a long day - YKWIM? Anyway, if I think of more, I'll post them.


    I had no idea how to put the titles in italics
  5. Momma C

    Momma C Comrade

    Oct 7, 2010
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    Oct 8, 2010

    The Egypt Game and Nothing But the Truth are great.
    Also, most school libraries are given a budget and can order classroom sets of books that can be checked out by teachers. Your library may actually have some sets. If you do have to order, try getting sets that have student journal. Let me know if I can be of further help.
  6. round stanley

    round stanley Companion

    Oct 5, 2009
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    Nov 1, 2010

    different reading levels

    Go to my favorite link for books...bookwizard at Scholastic.com. You put in a theme or subject and they give you a list of books that can be narrowed down to particular levels, interest &/reading. Can't beat this one for quick searches. Supposedly 50,000+ books, but I haven't counted.

  7. August

    August Rookie

    Sep 6, 2009
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    Aug 26, 2011

    The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    May 13, 2005
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    Aug 26, 2011

    Great suggestions, Bella!

    Italics are easy. Type what you want italicized; then you can either select that text with your mouse/trackpad and click the italicized "I" just above the message (it's between the B for boldface and the U for underline), or you can begin the string you want italicized with an "I" in square brackets and then end it with "/I" in square brackets.

    If you click "reply w/quote" under my post rather than just typing your reply in the Quick Reply window, you should see my post with the formatting characters displayed.
  9. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

    Jul 28, 2006
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    Aug 26, 2011

    We also use Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. For fun at the end of the year we do a unit with The Graduation of Jake Moon about a middle school boy and his single mom who lives with his grandfather. Grandfather develops alzheimers. Funny moments, but very real. I think it would be appropriate for any mix of kids.

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