Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Teacher help! Suggestions for Next Lit Circle?

It's 8:30 AM and I'm blogging from my couch. Why, you ask? Well, it is snow day number 8 for us Mid-Missourians.

On Friday, my students finished reading Wonder - what an excellent way to end the week! Our hearts were full as we walked out the door into a snowy weekend. While I have a few things I would like to do with the book, I'm starting to think ahead.... (blame the snow days!)

 Before we started Wonder, I kept asking myself, "how do I get my kids to talk deeply about the book?" I kept wondering what I wasn't doing to help them have genuine conversations. Finally, because I ran out of ideas, I just let them talk to one another. I pulled back my forced conversation starters and just let them enjoy the book and discuss on their own. What do you know? The minute I stopped trying so hard was when things started to click for them (work smarter, not harder... right?!) I realized all they really wanted (and needed) was to READ the book. Once they became invested in the story, they weren't relying on me to lead the conversation and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have noticed if I had walked out of the room. I noticed a dramatic change in the way my students were communicating and talking about the book. THEY were asking deep questions on their own and making inferences without me holding their hand to do so. At the end of each (okay most) reading sessions, I would pull everyone to the carpet and we would discuss our reading. One morning, we were having a full-fledged debate on whether or not we agreed with Miranda claiming Auggie. It was so incredibly powerful. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

I want to keep the momentum flowing after we officially wrap up Wonder with another literature circle. However, I'm stuck on book options. With this next club, I want the students to have a choice in their book selection versus all of us reading the same book. I have a few books to suggest for my students, but I am hoping to have a few more suggestions. I want this one to revolve around choice - however, I want my students to have a few great choices as well. :)

Here's what I have so far:

Snicker of Magic

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Now, this is where I need you! 
What books would you suggest for an eclectic group of 5th grade readers? What books have your students loved? 


  1. My students love the book Crash by Jerry Spinelli. It's a book I read aloud every year, and as I'm reading, they check out every copy in library to read along. They always want to know if there's a sequel. It's a great book! Check it out.

  2. I love Crash, too. Jerry Spinelli is my favorite author for young adult readers. This year my boys have been devouring the Hatchet series by Gary Paulsen. I have been on an ordering frenzy at amazon to keep one book ahead of them

    1. I think we have multiple copies of Crash and Hatchet - great ideas! Thank you!

  3. The One and Only Ivan is great! Origami Yoda is really fun too, along with the two sequels that are out. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is newish and good! I just finish When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead and it is good too!

    Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason
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    1. Oh great suggestions!! I don't think many in my room have read Lemoncello's Library. The problem is finding multiple copies of the book. I'm on the hunt!

  4. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper is one that my 5th graders have lots to say. It's about a girl with cerebel palsy who is incredibly intelligent, but can't communicate it. Heart warming. Chains by Anderson is another. This one is set during the Revolutionary War and the main character is a slave. Fabulous and lots to talk about. Peak, by Smith, is about a boy who climbs Mt. Everest. Interesting family relationships and moral decisions the main character has to make.

    1. Oh yes!! We read Out of My Mind earlier this year and my kids were captivated by it. Don't you love how kids show their compassion for Melody? That story made our hearts grow.

      I've never heard of Chains - I will look into that today!
      Peak is a great idea!

      Thank you so much!

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