Which book to use for silent reading?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Linguist92021, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Mar 17, 2012

    Our grading period ends on the 23rd, and I'm supposed to get new students in all my literacy classes.
    I wanted to change things up a bit. Instead of a 5 minute warm up, I want them to start the class with a 10 minute silent reading activity.
    This will be good to start the class, as they will settle in quickly.
    Every 10 weeks I get new groups, and I usually try to vary the content, this quarter we did reading comprehension + vocabulary development, (and analyze certain amendments), grammar, writing, poetry, finishing it all with a couple of movies (focusing on climax and resolution). I feel that I need to include more reading, although I think it has been great to have the variation. I will have the books in class, and the students will journal as they read.

    We have a teacher service center, where we can check books, etc out from. Some book kits even include guides. I've looked through the list and identified quite a few that I think will be interesting for them (based on the brief description). Which would you feel is the best? My students are all boys, age 16-18, incarcerated. Most of them are Hispanic.

    Barrio Boy
    Enrique's Journey
    Holes
    I know why the caged bird sings
    Lost Boy
    Monster
    Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglas; an American Slave, Outsiders
    Raisin in the Sun
    Twelve Angry men.

    I wish I could just check out some and read through them, but I don't have the time. The only time I can actually pick up the books is Wednesday, and by that time I need to email and get a response for which books are actually available.

    Any advice? Also I'm not sure how many pages are in each book. I don't want it to be too thick, I'd like it if they could finish it in a month.

    Thank you!!
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 18, 2012

    I'm not sure the reading level of your students...but Holes is pretty low (4th grade I think) and Outsiders is usually taught in middle school.

    My freshman loved Monster or really anything by the same author.
     
  4. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2012

    I think Raisin in the Sun and Twelve Angry Men would be a difficult silent read because they're both plays.

    I'll second Monster. It's always a big hit with my students who read it.
     
  5. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2012

    My students really love Robert Cormier. I think on your list Holes may be too easy, while I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings may be too advanced in theme if they are weak readers.
     
  6. ciounoi

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    Mar 18, 2012

    I think it would depend on your purpose for having the students read. Are they reading to use skills you have taught in class? Higher-level books, with frequent discussions/check-ups by you, might be best. Are they reading just for the joy of reading? Let them pick a high-interest book. :)
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Mar 18, 2012

    their reading levels vary. Currently I have several students who passed the GED, and students whose reading level is at 5th grade (at best) ,and anything in between. A lot of them are English learners.
    Most of the students haven't read many novels. They haven't been to school enough. One new student confessed to me that he hasn't been in school for 2 years, so he has to get used to doing classwork, that's why spaces out sometimes. He's in my geography class, but this is a typical situation.

    So I need something easy, but not too easy. I plan on having them look up words on their own, and journal throughout the novel.
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Mar 18, 2012

    These are some of my limitations: students cannot take the books to their dorms, so they're limited to in class reading, 10 minutes, 15 at the most / day. I would love to have frequent discussions, but my students will be at different phases of the book, and it's not just because of their reading level. Students are pulled out frequently: to meet with their probation officer, to go the nurse, (if this happens, they're gone for 20 minutes at least), they have other classes to attend (substance abuse, parenting, anger management, etc), so they may be missing 1 class / weeks for 4-6 weeks.

    So I can't really have the frequent discussions I would like to. I'd love for them to read for joy, but honestly, very few of them actually likes to read. Very few of them actually likes to do any work, so this won't be a popular choice, but that's ok.

    I would love for them to choose a book, unfortunately I can only have 1 literature kit out at a time, and if I ask them, the class would never agree on the same thing.

    Their interests for books and movies are really about violence, teenagers, sports - this is what they have all told me a long time ago. The only thing they would really like to read is anything by James Patterson, but I would have to buy that from my own money, and I can't afford 11 of those. :(
     
  9. TeachingHistory

    TeachingHistory Companion

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    Mar 18, 2012

    I think Monster would be a good idea.

    And Lost Boy, Are you talking about Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer, part of the Child Called It series?
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Yes, Lost boy by Dave Peltzer.
     
  11. Linguist92021

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    Mar 18, 2012

    Based on the description Monsters does seem like they would like it, as well as Outsiders. There is a chance they have read some of these books, especially if they're taught in middle school (like Outsiders?), but it doesn't mean all of them have read it, or finished it, or even remember it. I think if anything, they would vaguely remember the book, which would actually be beneficial.

    I would like to have a few choices, just in case the books I want are out. So so far it seems that Monsters is a good choice.
     
  12. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Don't be so sure about that. I bought a class set of The Hunger Games on Amazon for about $5 each, including tax and shipping. With only 16 copies to buy, it was pretty affordable. Right now, Maximum Ride is buy 3 get one free, and the paperback book is $7.99. So, for 12 books you would only be paying for nine of them. It comes to about $70. Shipping is free. There may be even cheaper books that also get this discount. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier is $6.99 and part of the deal, so it would be $62 shipping included. The Hunger Games is only $5, but not part of the deal.
     
  13. Ima Teacher

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    Mar 18, 2012

    Monster is also good for silent reading because of the format. It's hard to "get" all the parts of the book when it's read aloud because they really need to see the differences in the pages.

    I don't see anything wrong with reading a book a second time either. My students love The Outsiders, and they wouldn't care to read it another time. If they are weak readers, being familiar with the book will help them read it independently.
     
  14. ciounoi

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    When I was at detention my students all read and loved Lost Boy.
     
  15. Linguist92021

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    Mar 18, 2012

    Great! Thank you everyone !!!
    I will have these students for 10 weeks, so I think they can do 2-3 books. I might even change it up and read the last one together, we'll see how timing will be.
     
  16. nstructor

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    Mar 18, 2012

    All of Sharon Draper's books appeal to kids that age! I'd start with Tears of a Tiger, then Forged by Fire, and then Darkness before Dawn. She has another trilogy too, starting with The Battle of Jericho.
     
  17. peachacid

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    Mar 19, 2012

    I recommend getting a bunch of books from the library, and having them choose from those. Get varied reading levels, and don't assume they only want to read books about gangs/hispanic kids. My students are mostly hispanic, and they like a variety of literature. They LOVE Calvin and Hobbes. If your goal is just to get them reading a variety of stuff, then I'd just get books you remember loving from when you were younger, and books you see at the library that you like. I have my students organize the books into piles at the end of the 2 weeks: one pile that they want me to renew, and another pile that they're done with.
     
  18. nstructor

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    How do you get free and low shipping on Amazon? I always purchase books from them, but the shipping is at least twice as much as the books.
     
  19. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I always get free super saver shipping. It's not super fast, but my books came in four or five days.
     
  20. Linguist92021

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    Mar 31, 2012

    So here's my update:
    Our Teacher Service Center did not have the book set Monster. They did have Outsiders, with only 6 books and reading guides, etc. I have 10-11 students, so 6 is not enough, but I took them. Maybe I'll buy a few later and end up using them.
    I took another book set, Always Running by Luis Rodriguez. When the teachers later saw it, they said it was a really good choice, some of the students read it already, they did or will enjoy the book, they even had the author come and speak at school a few years ago!

    So the students come in, and immediately start silent reading for 10-15 minutes. I'm reading the book myself, I'm slightly ahead of them, and making a reading guide as I go along. It's basically 2 pages / chapter, with questions from the text. So they read, think about it and answer the questions. I have dictionaries for everyone, I have a vocabulary chart area on the guide, if they need to look up a word, might as well write it down with the meaning. I also have a self-reflection question.

    Well, they're a good example of silent reading! You could hear a pin drop during this time, they're so into it, and when it's time to switch, some of them don't want to stop :) Of course I put on some quiet music for them.

    My plan is to have them finish reading it in 3 weeks (I think that's how long it will take) and then we'll work with it for a week. For example write an essay, write an autobiography (that's kind of how the book is), write letter to the author, etc.
     
  21. Linguist92021

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    Apr 11, 2012

    Another update (overall a happy story)

    The kids are really into the book. They read silently for the first 10-15 minutes of the class. It is the first thing they do when they come in, and I cannot tell you how much it improved the overall class climate. Of course some of them still decide to be knuckleheads here and there later on, but they settle down very quickly (30 seconds, instead of up to 5 minutes).

    When the time is up, some of them really don't want to put the book down - it's so cute.
    Usually we have the whole class go to the bathroom at the same time - yes, it's like in an elementary school. So we line up putside, even if I have a couple of kids who don't need to go. One kid asked me if he could just line up outside, and take the book with him, to keep reading. He said "I've never read a book. I like it" .I'm sure he read books before, but maybe he never got to finish one, or he never enjoyed one? This made me so happy :)

    But they're taking longer than I thought they would, which is ok. (and by the way, there are several instances where the author explicitly describes sex scenes. They're very short but in great detail. I am SO glad we're not reading it out loud, haha)
     

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