Does anyone have any great suggestions?

  • 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.

The Midnight FoxOne 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.


Mrs. Eaves