Changing Up My Read Alouds | Mentoring in the Middle

Changing Up My Read Alouds

You know those kids who walk into your Reading classroom and announce, "I don't like to read.  Last year I only read 1 book."  Or the ones who look at me goggle-eyed when I tell them they'll read, on average, 30 books in my classroom this year?

It's for them that I read aloud.  Get them hooked in a book, and next thing you know, they want to read something else by that author, or the next book in the series, or something that's "good like the one you're reading to us."  Yes!
I follow the Nerdy Book Club (if you don't, you should!) where they talk about books.  Bright, shiny
 new books that I buy and read over the summer and fall in love with!Here are three that will definitely be on my list to read aloud next year.

This one was actually given to me by the ESL teacher who pushed into my room last year.  It is so well written!  Alice Ann moves from Chicago to Jackson, Mississippi in 1963 because her father is an FBI agent, investigating the murder of three young adults who were in the South helping African-Americans register to vote.  Alice Ann is completely bewildered by the way she must behave around other students and around African Americans.  It's a powerful book that shows how far we've come, and yet, given the news, how far we still have to go.  Sure to generate lots of good discussions!

Lots of people are talking about this book, and rightly so.  This is the story of Ally, a sixth grade girl who's moved around a lot.  She's moved so much she's never learned to read, and no one has figured that out yet.  Why?  Because she's too proud to tell anyone and she'd rather get sent to the principal's office than show what she doesn't know.  A very thoughtfully written book, with lots of room for discussion about learning styles and about compassion.
This book starts off a bit rough (Ada's mom doesn't win any Mother of the Year awards.)  Ada is ten years old at the beginning of World War II, living in London with her mom and younger brother.  She has a clubfoot, which her mother is terribly ashamed of, so she isn't allowed to leave the little flat where they live. Until Jamie, her brother, is sent to the country to avoid the bombing in London, and she sneaks out to join him.  They are taken in by a woman named Susan, who doesn't really want them at first.  She's grieving the loss of a good friend. The way these three characters heal and emerge from themselves is worth the read!
All three of these books have female protagonists.  No problem!  Some of my tried and true read-alouds (Michael Vey, Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, Magyk, Gregor the Overlander) have great boys as main characters!

What are you planning to read to your students this year? 


  1. Thank you for your recommendations! I definitely want to check out Fish in a Tree. I agree that read alouds are one of the best ways to get reluctant readers interested in books!

    Fit to be Fourth