How do you select read-alouds?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by divey, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. divey

    divey Companion

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    When reading teach12's thread on "a good book", several books that were mentioned were books that I've read (and loved). I would love to read them to my 2nd graders, but then I worry that they're "too deep". On the other hand, I'm not really interested in reading Junie B. Jones, all year (or ever, if I can help it ;) ) So...how do you select books to read aloud (especially to lower elementary students) from the huge selection of wonderful literature out there?
     
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  3. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Divey- I think it's all about preferences. Children love read alouds. I think it's a judgement call as well. Like you said, some books may be too over the heads of second graders, but these days, so many books are being made into movies that the kids are aware of the plots. James and the Giant Peach is a wonderful read aloud!

    I do not like the Junie B. Jones series myself. I know what you mean. I think it's never too early to expose the children to more advanced literature. It inspires them to read. Check out your local library for summer reading lists and see if there are any books that you loved. I always say that if I loved the book, chances are that will be conveyed to the students.
     
  4. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    I feel that read aloud books should be books that your students would otherwise read if it weren't too advanced for them. You'll want to read books that are slightly over their reading level, for example

    The Indian in the Cupboard is a VERY good read aloud for 2nd grade.
    The Stinky Cheese man is also a very humorous story book (granted you should have read the usual fairy tales first)
    Some Goosebump books are good for all ages. (this is a reading motivator)
    Stellaluna (book about a bat)
    Charlie Anderson (book about a cat with two homes)
    Freckle Juice
    Ramona
    Amelia Bedelia
    Shel Silverstein peoms

    Honestly, I would pick a book that /I/ really liked and felt was appropriate.

    Ugh. I absolutely will not EVER read Junie B. Jones books to my students. When I talk to my students, I model perfect grammar. Why would I read a book that demonstrates terrible grammar to my class? I think the author could have written a very cute book without adding in all of those "aints" and "subject/verb disagreements" (Plus, too much of my responses to the book would be, "So, instead of doing ______, What should Junie have done?"
     
  5. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    I teach 2nd grade and here are the read-a-louds I do or have done:

    1) Charlotte's Web
    2) Flat Stanley (adding this for next year)
    3) Ralph S. Mouse
    4) Ramona the Pest
    5) Little House in the Big Woods
    6) Little House on the Prairie
    7) Boxcar Children #1

    I chose them because I loved them at that age and still do even after reading them over and over! If you enjoy it the students will too. I've read a book or 2 to them that I didn't like and they could tell I wasn't excited about it and neither were they.
     
  6. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    I never understood the quality of Junie B. Jones. I find it hard to read actually with all that bad grammar.
     
  7. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    I also use Junie B as a whole class intro chapter book in reading. You have to look at it as a dialect and use it as an opportunity to discuss what is proper and what is not. The students LOVE the book we do and all the "naughty" things she does. It's a great thing to do as a reader's theater too so that they really HEAR how awful it sounds to talk like that.
     
  8. divey

    divey Companion

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    What great comments! Thank you! Some of the books that I have read to my class are Tale of Despereaux, Because of Winn Dixie, and The B.F.G (as well as several other Roald Dahl books, like The Twits, George's Marvelous Medicine, and, of course, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...my kids AND I love them!). These are all books that I LOVE and even though some of them are a higher reading level (i.e. "deeper"), I still read them every year! But I also loved Number the Stars...my personal opinion is that it doesn't really go into the horror's of the holocaust, but am I pushing the limit if I read that to 2nd graders?
     
  9. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    I just don't think it will hold their interest at that age.
     
  10. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    IMHO I would leave Number the Stars alone in 2nd grade. They do that in 5th grade at my school. I think that one needs to be read and discussed and 2nd graders aren't ready for that, but like I said that's just my opinion.
     
  11. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Right ctopher! The book really needs a discussion to follow, and for second graders it just isn't on their level.
     
  12. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    Some of the 6th grade teachers at my school stopped reading that book because of the bad language in it. (I don't remember any, but it's been a while since I've read it).
     
  13. bonteach

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    My school reads number the stars in 4th grade.
    I like to read picture book for read alouds between novels.
    The Ant Bully and The Quiltmaker's Gift are just two that come to mind.
     
  14. IndyJo

    IndyJo Companion

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    I'm reading Strange Happenings, the new chapter book by Avi. It is a collection of five short stories - roughly 15-20 pages each - about what would happen if you traded places with people or animals. The first short story, titled "Bored Tom" is about a 12-year-old who is bored with life. The whole book is obviously fantasy, but it kept my attention because I remember when I was bored with school. I will definitely read at least that story to my third graders because it shows great story organization, dialogue, and how to totally develop an idea. Plus just the writing possibilities for my students! Hopefully, though, they're aren't bored in my class!:angel:
     
  15. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jim Trelease has a book called The Read-Aloud Handbook that he updates every 5 or 6 years. I love it. The back half of the book is a treasury of novels, picture books, poetry books, etc. to read aloud to children. He gives a synopsis of each book's plot and the grade levels it would be appropriate for (listening/ interest level). I have a copy behind my desk that I am constantly pulling out. I'm not sure if he has a website or not.
     
  16. divey

    divey Companion

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    I agree with you all about Number the Starsbeing too much for 2nd graders, but dog-gone-it....it's such a great book! :D Have any of you read The Tale of Despereaux to your kids? I read it once, the year before last, and thought my kids would really get into it, but found that I had to explain A LOT of things and my kids seemed kind of bored at times. Two books that my kids have LOVED every time I've read them are The B.F.G by Roald Dahl and Because of Winn Dixie. The opposite is true with these books, I wondered if my kids would like them, and they couldn't wait for me to read each chapter AND they understood more of the details of the stories when I thought I'd have to explain something. Strange, huh?!? Please keep the good read-aloud ideas coming...my "read this summer" list is growing!!! :D
     
  17. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    The Secret Garden, animal books by **** King-Smith, Poppy by Avi, The Littles, Little House books, Stuart Little.
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    One of the most important things to consider when choosing your read-alouds--be sure to choose books that you love! Your passion for what you read will be infectious.
     
  19. MelissainGA

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    On a whim I read a Geronimo Stilton book to my kids and they absolutely LOVED it. They requested I read more so I ended up adding a couple of others to my list of read alouds. I also read them a "choose your own adventure" and let the boys choose which way the story went one time and the girls choose the way the story went the next time. They really liked that also.
     
  20. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    My all time favorite is "Charlotte's Web". "The Trumpet of the Swan", "The Ugly Ducklin" and "Charlie's Chocolate Factory" are great read aloud books. "First Day Jitters" by Julie Danneberg is good to read on the first day of school. "Beyond the Ridge" is awesome to have at your finger tips to read when a parent, student, or whoever dies. Save it for that day of need.

    I am glad to see others think Julie B Jones books and Captain Underpants books are horrible also. I don't understand why teachers read those books to their students when we have so many great books to share.
     
  21. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I can't stand Captain Underpants. I refuse to put any of those books in my classroom library. And I will never waste time reading them.
     
  22. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Ditto!
     
  23. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    While I enjoy Junie B and dislike Cpt. Underpants my philosophy is this......if they get a kid to read that generally doesn't I don't care what they are reading as long as it's something!!

    If you go to the author website for Junie B Jones you get a reason why the author created her the way that she did and why she writes it the way she does. I've also gotten AMAZING workbooks to go with the book we do in my room at the end of the year that really make the students think about things.
     
  24. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    While I do agree that if a child is reading then that is my main goal. I choose to expose them to other things in class and let them choose those other series of books for independent outside reading. I wouldn't discourage it of course, if a child wanted to read it in class, but it wouldn't be on my list of must reads?
    What supplements did you find for Junie?
     
  25. Mizz Lucy

    Mizz Lucy Guest

    Jul 5, 2006

    I agree with ctopher!
    I LOVE to read Junie B mainly because my students
    are engulfed with the naughty little things she does.
    They also enjoy correcting her grammar.
    Some other great read alouds not mentioned
    are Pippy Longstocking, Mr Popper's Penguins,
    Magic Treehouse
    and Ramona
     
  26. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    Here are some links to Junie B and Barbara Park stuff:

    http://www.randomhouse.com/teachers/junieb/
    http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/junieb/books/books.html

    On this site Barbara Park answers questions about Junie B and why she has been created this way.

    http://www.rif.org/readingplanet/bookzone/content/park.mspx

    I don't have my file here at home to give you the company name for the workbooks/studyguides we get to use with the book. When I go into school to work in my room I will try to remember to look.

    Christopher
     
  27. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    When I did 2nd, my kids favorite books were Help, I'm a Prisoner in the Library (great one for those dreary winter days!) and Matilda by Roald Dahl.
     
  28. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Thanks ctopher :angel:
     
  29. divey

    divey Companion

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    Personally I try to read chapter books that my kids wouldn't be able to read on their own, and they can usually handle Junie B. Jones/Magic Tree House books. I find that when I see a read-aloud list, these kinds of books are the ones that are on the list for 2nd grade, but I want to read bigger, better, deeper books during chapter book time, ya' know what I mean? Books that have rich vocabulary and we can discuss while we're reading them.
     
  30. Daisha

    Daisha Companion

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    Hi! I'm a new teacher and will be teaching fifth grade this fall and was wondering what some of you have read in fifth. I was thinking about reading The Hundred Dresses at the beginning of the year, and at the school we are using the Core Knowledge Sequence so I know that the other books I will be reading throughout the year will be The Secret Garden, part of Little Women, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (required, but books that I love, also, so that is good). Thank You for all your information and knowledge that you guys share on this website.
     
  31. divey

    divey Companion

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    What about Walk Two Moons? Or Sounder or My Side of the Mountain or.........:)
     
  32. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    Hatchet is good for 5th or anything by Gary Paulsen, Island of the Blue Dolphins is also one they do in my school in 5th
     
  33. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I have read Holes, My Brother Sam is Dead, anything by Andrew Clements, and Loser all with success. I read The Hundred Dresses a couple years ago and the kids liked it. We had a pretty good discussion at the end of it. One of the kids noticed that the bullies were girls and usually book bullies are boys. It was interesting because I'm not sure that I necessarily agree, but "boy book bullies" do seem to be more physically agressive. We had a good discussion about the more verbal aspect of bullying after this book. I think it would be perfectly acceptable, especially since girls in the 5th tend to get more exclusive and cliquish than they may have been.
     
  34. WowTeach

    WowTeach Rookie

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    I love The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles. I like to refer to the vivid, descriptive language during our writing workshops!
     
  35. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I have this book, but have never read it. Do you think it would be appriciated by 5th graders?
     
  36. Bonnie gr. 2

    Bonnie gr. 2 Companion

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    I have read "classics" such as Charlotte's Web, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I also read many pictuie books, including the Clifford and Arthur books. But the ones my kids like the best are the Junie B. books. When I read them, I act like Junie B. So when she stand son a chair, so do I. They come alive to the kids. I realize that her grammar is poor, but I point that out and we talk about the correct way to say it. Cookie Monster also has poor grammar.
     
  37. norogo

    norogo Rookie

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    I also wanted to add that I love reading Matilda and also James and the Giant Peach but Matilda is a favorite.
     
  38. WowTeach

    WowTeach Rookie

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    The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

    I think it would be great for any class in grades 3-5.
    It's fantasy which I don't usually like. In fact, I didn't expect much from this book. It turned out better than I thought. We made a lot of text to text connections with this book too (w/ Narnia, Wizard of Oz, and other books where kids enter a fantasy world through a "portal"...as my students told me). They brought up things I hadn't thought about.
     
  39. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Community/friendship books

    Wow, great ideas for 2nd grade--what about first?? This will be my first year teaching that grade level.

    I want to start the year reading short books centered around the theme of community/friendship. Any ideas????
     
  40. SueM

    SueM New Member

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    read alouds

    I know the endless amount of books available to us to read to our students, how do we chose. I like to read Ramona to my students. The first one is fun since she is in kindergarten and most of the kids in my class have that "been there, done that" attitude with the story. I will mix up some of the Judy Delton books along with the Magic Tree House and the Boxcar Children. I usually read the first one to introduce the character to the kids, and let them chose others to read on their own. I tried Bed knobs and Broom sticks, but it was over their head, and almost mine. Too British. At the end of the year, I read Indian in the Cupboard to my students then we watch the movie. I have fun with that one since I have met Litefoot (the Indian) several times. Many teachers read Charlottes Web. You might want to check with teachers in the grades that surround your students to see if they have or will read it. Books with movies of the same title are fun so the kids can see at an early age that the book is usually better than the movie.
    Let the kids be the guide. If the books isnt good, their behavior will tell you that. I have started several books that none of us have really liked. When that happens, put it away and get another one out.
     
  41. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Stuart Little, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and picture books.

    For 5th - Frindle, Maniac Magee, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Shiloh, The Secret School, Number the Stars, Rascal.

    My kids didn't like Walk Two Moons. Has anyone used Bloomability by Creech?
     

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