- In search of books that will help us develop as readers while exploring animals in different habitats
- You know, integrating language arts and science…
Hi Matt (and readers of our blog),
I need some help. This year I would describe my class of third graders as a group of readers not always sure of how to choose books to read and enjoy. Sometimes great choices happen, but often they seem accidental. There is a lot of wandering around the bookshelves, starting and stopping, and turning pages and pretending. Of course that’s not true for everyone, but it is the general feel. Because of this I find myself structuring more of our reading time with small groups. I really want kids to know what it feels like to finish a book and to find a book that changes them. I’ve met with some success with the first goal – not really with the second.
So that leads me to my current challenge: What books can I select to support the range of readers in our class (from those who find Magic Tree House-like books a challenge to those who are reading and loving The Lightning Thief) AND also allow us to explore a variety of animal habitats?
Do you have any title suggestions? I would really appreciate them.
One idea is The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars. It has been a very long time since I first read this book. I’m not sure what made it pop into my head, but I am glad it did. Right from the beginning I was hooked. What a lead!
Sometimes at night when the read is beating against the windows of my room, I think about that summer on the farm. It has been finve years, but when I close my eyes I am once again y the creek watching the black fox come leaping over the green, green grass. She is as light and free as the wind, exactly as she was the first time I saw her. .
Or sometimes it is that last terrible night, and I am standing beneath the oak tree with the rain beating against me. The lightning flashes, the world is turned white for a moment, and I see everything as it was – the broken lock, the empty cage, the small tracks disappearing in the rain. Then it seems to me that I can hear, as plainly as I heard it that August night, above the rain, beyond the years, the high, clear bark of the midnight fox.
I was drawn through the pages right to the end wondering how a fox and a farm could mix – they don’t always and this book is no exception. I hope all intermediate readers find it. Every word is a perfect choice. It’s one of those books – sort of sparkles. The Midnight Fox will be one selection. It is realistic fiction – the favorite genre of our class. It is will be a good match for many in the class and the book club/discussion format will help increase the understanding for those who’ll find the reading a bit challenging. And the flow of the language … we’ll have a great time exploring passages to see how they can inform our writing.
Beyond The Midnight Fox, am not certain of any other choices. Maybe Poppy. Maybe A Toad for Tuesday. I wish I could find books with various settings – not all woodland and habitats familiar to us.
Please let me know if you have any suggestions. I could use the help.