Reading for pleasure isn’t just fun and games! It’s an important component in helping your students’ master literacy skills, develop and hone their social/emotional intelligence and it has been shown to bolster academic performance and future economic success.
What makes pleasure reading so powerful? What does pleasure reading do for students that all your well thought out plans, research and late night searches of “best books/ literature for (fill in the blank) readers” lists, blogs and social media doesn’t? Seriously how can letting kids read what they want lead to anything but comic books and repetitive series books?
Children will read if they are engaged in the story. And nothing engages children like having the power of choice. Choice to read in the genre and format that they love and not the one that we as educators think they should be reading.
Here are a few good titles to recommend for grades 4 and up!
Follow the adventures of Buck, a loving family pet, who is stolen from his comfortable home to become a sled dog in the Yukon gold rush territory. As Buck faces freezing temperatures, starvation, and cruelty, he learns that he must be brutal to survive. (Classic)
Devin and Nadia are in a desperate race to stop a multinational corporation from gaining control of the food supply and destroying their mother’s career in the process. While Devin and Nadia spend summer vacation at a university camp for little kids where ”Nadia as a counselor and Devin as an unwilling participant” their mother’s research project is vandalized and her motives are questioned. Devin, Nadia and Simon stumble upon shady characters, corporate conspiracy and a plot to take over the nation’s food supply with genetically modified fertilizer. (Graphic Novel)
Chris always does the right thing. But when he knows who messed with Sam in the school yard, he cant speak up. His friends cant either. Theres the silent Code that every kid follows. Chris decides he cant live with himself if he doesnt say something, so he makes a stand and is shocked at the outcome. Mean bully Phil is actually cool. But then Phil asks him to do something so wrong. (ESL/struggling reader)
Like watching a movie frame by frame, we watch Lexi is come unglued in this novel in verse. Shes alienated from school and family. Her father is in the county jail. She cannot connect with her chain-smoking stepmom. Her brother, Blaine, is trapped in his own autistic world. And her infant sisters death has sent her into a spiral of grief and rebellion. Bright, witty, and irreverent, Lexi tries to navigate the rocky transition from adolescent to young woman. (Contemporary novel)
Why are ravens black? Why do screech owl eyes look red in light? How did we get fire? You’ll find the answers to those questions in this retelling of a Cherokee pour quoi folktale. The earth was cold and dark but the animals could see fire coming from the tree on the island. They tried to fly or swim to the island to bring back the fire heat and light. What happened to some of the animals? Which animal brought it back and how? (Folk/Fairy Tale)
In this title, examine the life of imaginative space traveler and medical innovator Mae Jemison. Readers will enjoy digging into Jemison’s personal story, beginning with her childhood in Chicago where she watched Star Trek and conducted dozens of her own science experiments. Students can trace Jemison’s success, from her education at Stanford University and Cornell University to her years volunteering with the Peace Corps, before her acceptance into the NASA space program and flight into space on the Endeavour. (Biography)
Almost any game you play needs math. From poker to computer games, from video games to board games, math has a role to play. Game Math will help you understand your favorite games better. You may even find youre a better player when you understand the math behind the rules! (Math and Technology)
With a sixday workweek, long hours on the job, and the hard labor required to keep house, leisure time was precious in the 1800s. Without recorded music, radio, movies, TV, video games, or the Internet, Americans had to make their own fun, and most of it was simple and very low techsinging around the family piano, visiting with neighbors, or picnicking in the woods. In the bigger towns and cities, theaters offered live, professional entertainment ranging from classic plays to raucous minstrel shows. In the smaller towns and rural areas, people waited anxiously for those few times a year when a traveling show or circus might come through the area. As the 1800s progressed, leisure time and economic resources increased for many Americans and a more sophisticated public demanded new and more exciting amusements. Read all about America at play in the 1800s! (History and Social Studies)