I'm relatively sure nobody checks the "Recently Read Books" section of this blog, so you will not have noticed that I just finished two classics: The BFG and Shiloh Season. One of the perks of my job is that I get paid to read aloud, and I love reading aloud. (In fact, I'm pretty sure my first vlog is going to be me reading from Sophomore Undercover, which, by the way, goes on sale in just four short days!) I probably read twenty-five books a year to my third graders. We have a twenty minute period each morning set aside for two things: snacks and books. They eat. I read to them. We don't discuss theme. We don't analyze. I don't even check to make sure they're listening. It's a just a chance for them to relax and realize that books can be fun. It's easily my favorite part of the day.
I do this for six reasons:
1. I want to.
2. Students need to enjoy books before they'll want to read them on their own.
3. It's a way to build a common knowledge base.
4. I use the novels to illustrate writing techniques. (During writing, if we're studying leads, I'll pull down Because of Winn-Dixie and, since students are familiar with the text, it's easier to look at technique and to name exactly what the author has done.)
5. There are lots of awesome books they might otherwise never read.
6. When I was in elementary school, my librarian read aloud James and the Giant Peach and it was the highlight of my elementary career. (It is also just about the only thing I remember from those formative years. In school, that is. I mean, I remember lots about the 1984 World Series and can quote lines from Star Wars or The Natural all the livelong day.)
So far this year I've read some Judy Blume (three of the Fudge books), Roald Dahl (Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Twits, The BFG), The Tale of Despereaux and Because of Winn-Dixie (And I'm reading Edward Tulane right now. Tiger Rising to come.), all three Shiloh books, Skinnybones (which I think is hilarious, but a lot of it goes right over my students' heads), There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, and Charlotte's Web.
I've got Frindle and Tiger Rising waiting on the shelf, but I'm always looking for suggestions.
What are some of your favorites? Any books you remember from your third/fourth grade years? Any books you think all kids should definitely experience?