Thursday, February 08, 2007

Great Readalouds

I'm finishing up two readalouds at the end of this week, both of which have been an enormous success.

With my seventh graders, I've been reading The Book of Three, and with my eighth graders, I've been reading Al Capone Does My Shirts.

The Book of Three is wonderful for its character development. It's fun when the students start picking up on the quirks of all the different characters, to the point that they can recognize who's talking before the name is mentioned. You can talk about how the author makes the characters come alive. One of the kids said the other day, "You know, every time Eilonwy talks, she always...you know, compares things." Similes, anyone? And I like to tell the kids, as they go to break, "Enjoy your crunchings and munchings!" There are lots of other things to discuss, too. I love the way the characters have expectations of each other, most of which turn out to be wrong. Taran's ideas of heroism, before and after he goes on his own adventures, are an example of this. Another is everyone's concept of what exactly an Assistant Pig-Keeper is like.

Al Capone Does My Shirts is popular with my eighth graders in spite of the historical setting, which they usually don't appreciate much. It's not the distant past - just the 30's - but that might as well be the middle ages as far as they are concerned. But they like the quirky setting (Alcatraz) and the autistic sister, Natalie. Most of them beg for more when I quit reading each day (with some notable exceptions, I have to confess - not all of them are quite that impressed).

Does anybody else have some readalouds that kids of this age have especially enjoyed?

3 comments:

Krakovianka said...

When I was about that age, I had a teacher read Watership Down by Richard Adams to us. It was very well received, and opens the door for some great discussions about leadership and types of government.

Sherry said...

How funny! We just started reading The Book of Three alous in the evenings.

Ruth said...

Krakovianka, that's a wonderful idea. I haven't read Watership Down since I was 14 or so. I loved it.

Sherry, we read it as a family readaloud first, too. I hadn't read those books growing up. I'm getting introduced to lots of new books by my bookworm daughter.