How did I get here? Books for Boys Linky Party! | Mentoring in the Middle

How did I get here? Books for Boys Linky Party!

     So I was going to write about a project I've been working on that I'm really excited about.  I love anything that has kids reading and writing across the curriculum and I hate most things that have to do with "practicing" for state tests.  So I've been working away on a project for my students that has them researching different countries, but in the process they get to use math to figure out the weather (measures of central tendency, proportion, scale, etc) they compare notes with kids who are researching countries on other continents, they get to use googleEarth and they write, and they read, and they learn geography.  Lots of good stuff.  But it's not finished yet :(

   Here's one of the graphic organizers I created that they'll be using:

  Want a copy?  Come on over to my TpT store and you can download it for free.  I'll post more once I get this whole thing together.  I want to push this group of kids, and I want them to have fun along the way.  Now there's a concept....

  But I digress.....  So instead of working on this project, I was checking out some blogs and came across this post which is near and dear to my heart.  Getting boys to read can be a challenge, and in sixth grade, I use this line a lot:  "It's okay to be cool AND smart."  And the boys smile, but they know I'm going to keep trying until I find a book that's the right fit for them!  Courtney at Swimming Into Second was talking about what books her second grade boys like to read.  And that got me thinking about my boys, especially my more reluctant readers.

So, here are some books I've found that have really grabbed my 11-year olds.

The most popular series this year has been the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz.  I can't keep these books on my shelves. Alex Rider is your basic James Bond type without the women and the alcohol.  He has more adventures in one book than most of us have in a lifetime.  And he has the really cool spy stuff.  Boys love him!

I wasn't so sure about this series at first, because it has some scary elements.  But when one of my most reluctant readers wrote in his journal...."I used to hate reading, but now that I'm reading Skeleton Creek, I might have to change my mind."  Well, let's just say that went a long way towards convincing me.  This series combines reading with short video clips - you go to the website printed on a particular page, type in the ID and password and watch the video which moves the story along.

Each book in this series is written by a different author; it's about two orphaned children who discover that they are members of one of the most powerful families in the world.  On their beloved aunt's death, they learn they can take one million dollars and walk, or start to solve clues to discover where the family's huge sum of money is.  With a babysitter in tow, they galavant all around the globe, and their adventures are fun for all kids to read.  This is a good series for boys for whom the Alex Rider series is a little too hard.

This is a new book, and I've had only a couple of boys read it so far, since I finished it, but then I've only had it on my shelves for a short time.  The boy who just finished it today is not nearly as strong a reader as those who've read it before him; he started reading it before Christmas.  But every couple of days, he would walk into homeroom to show me how much he'd read the previous night.  Or he'd tell me some exciting part that he'd really enjoyed.  The look of enjoyment on his face thrilled the heart of this Reading teacher!

  And finally, here's a series that I think I've enjoyed as much as my boys have.  This is the story of Will, a young orphan boy who wants more than anything to become a knight, but instead is selected to be a ranger, part of a secret group of men who protect the king and his kingdom.  Reads like something out of the Middle Ages, it has enough adventure and battles to keep most boys satisfied.

Are you getting the idea that I could talk and talk about this?  Time to put this blog to rest!  What books are your boys reading?  Share, please!



  1. Replies
    1. Any time! I love the way teachers connect at all levels with each other! Now, if I only could find the time to read everything that everyone posts. There's lots of good stuff out there in the blogger universe!

  2. Thanks for these great book suggestions. I am always looking to add to my class library.
    This is a great idea. I just found your blog via Farley. I have a Middle School Blog Log on my site. Check it out and let me know if you want to be added. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the offer. I just went over to your site and put in my information. It's good for middle school and upper elementary teachers to be talking to each other!

  3. Hi Marion:
    Thanks for the book ideas. 39 Clues was huge in my class last year. Sadly, I don't have very many book lovers this year. I'm trying to hide all of the Wimpy Kid books so they will look at something else.
    So you liked Ranger's Apprentice. You didn't think it was too dark or violent? After reading this post, I think I'll try dragging that one out again. I'm really excited to check out The False Prince!

    Happy Weekend...

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

    1. Hi Kim,
      Just responded to another post of yours, but to answer about Ranger's Apprentice.... When I read the prologue, I rolled my eyes, and wondered why I'd thought it would be fun to read. But then I read the first chapter and was hooked. I've found each year that I have a cluster of boys who need lots of action in their books, and that series seems to do it; the Alex Rider series appeals to similar kids. Like you, I want to hide my Wimpy Kid books, especially for those kids who read them over and over again. Have you ever given your kids The Invention of Hugo Cabret to read? It looks like a 500 page book, but it's filled with wonderful sketches. That's one of my go-to books for kids who think they can't read.