I was a bookworm when I was younger. I’d get in trouble because I’d read by my night light when I was supposed to be sleeping. On a third grade questionnaire, I remember I wrote down librarian as my dream job. Little did I know!
This has been my first year as a teacher and librarian in Turkey. The previous librarian left behind many wonderful resources, which have been crucial to my ability to function.
One of the great joys of my position is sharing stories with students. I see the preschool through sixth grade classes once a week for 40 minutes. I’ve mostly relied on the read aloud lists that were left for me. Here’s what we’ve been reading this year (excluding the picture books for the preschoolers, kindergartners, and first graders):
I started by reading picture books to the second graders. After the first several weeks, we moved onto chapter books.
- My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett – This is a Newbery Honor Book. The kids enjoyed the story and thought the animals were funny.
- Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary – While the second graders seemed to like this book for the most part, some of the boys got bored with it. There may have been a bit of a disconnect since Ramona is a kindergartner. Some of the chapters were a little long and I’d split them into two for the sake of attention span.
- Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren – Both the boys and the girls really liked this book! I may need to hunt down the movie for next year.
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald – I remember my teacher reading this book when I was in elementary school. The third graders loved it! After we finished reading, I had them create their own Piggle-Wiggle cures. Several of the students really picked up on the format of the chapters where the mom calls another mom who tells her to call Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. (Download my free Piggle-Wiggle Cure worksheet!)
- Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar – This was another hit. There were always lots of laughs from both the story and the pictures.
- Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol – My third grade teacher Mr. Connor loved to read us Encyclopedia Brown books. After I read a chapter, the students tried to figure out how Encyclopedia solved the case. They got it right several times!
- The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – Almost half of the fourth grade class this year was ESL (English As A Second Langauge). They learned leaps and bounds since the first day of school, but this book was tough for them to understand. I wish I could have shown them the movie at the end, but I didn’t have a copy. It’s a classic and good for students to know, but I may reevaluate it as a read aloud book for next year.
- No Talking by Andrew Clements – This year’s fourth grade class definitely had a boys versus girls spirit, so they loved this book. We did several exercises that mimicked what the students were doing in the book, like telling a story using 3 word sentences and only writing notes back and forth.
- The Boys Start the War and The Girls Get Even by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – The copy in our library is a 2-in-1 book, and we read both. The fifth graders enjoyed the story and competition.
- The BFG by Roald Dahl – The students laughed at the funny words the BFG said.
- Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson – The sixth graders loved this book! It kept the attention of both the boys and girls. Some of them even tried out the writing style in their papers. The book has humorous characters and a wild plot. This is the first book in a series of four. We have the second book in our library, but the third and fourth books must have had limited printings. A hardback copy of the fourth book is listed on Amazon for over $140!
- The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald – This fantasy novel was written in 1872, and the writing style reflects the era. There are several ESL kids in sixth grade, but even for the native English speakers, the text was over their heads at times. Sometimes after reading a passage, I’d stop to make sure they understood what was happening in the story. It’s quite long, and I don’t think we’ll be able to finish this book before the school year is over.
Are there any books you’d recommend for next year?