One of my favorite parts of teaching is supporting student choice in reading and growing their love from books, especially when students are looking for drastically different reading experiences.
Department Reading List
In 2016, I also undertook the task to create a resource menu of all the books that were available to the Middle School's Language Arts department. The first step was to research all the book lists from years past and determine what resources existed physically and what resources were only written. The second step was to research what each grade level taught as a whole class text, small group text, or independent reading so we could vertically align our resources. Then, I determined genres, researched Lexiles, and wrote summaries for each book so we could all have a good idea of which books were good fits for our students. The result was creating a comprehensive department reading list.
In 2017, I revamped the Reading Lounge dedicated to reading by organizing titles, making purchases, and selecting best-fit reads for students.
I think it is important to record student reading in ways that encourages the pleasure of reading instead of making it a burden. Here is a daily chart for reading times that students use to record the time when they have been able to steal away with a book.
One of my passions is supporting works of literature from the cannon with thematically similar titles. That looks differently in different classes, but the goal is always building a culture of lifetime reading that inspires students.
Literature (G. 9)
When tackling a difficult work from the canon, it is helpful for students to have teachers match higher-interest books with works from the cannon that have similar themes. For different students, independent reading can have many desired outcomes: entertainment, conversations with peers, or future conversations with college professors.
Language Arts (G. 7)
We are living in an explosion of Young Adult series, and many are responsible for inspiring a generation of readers. Middle Grades is a perfect time for students to participate in books clubs and embrace independent reading. Here are some novels that I think would be good fits for capturing students attention.
Social Studies (G. 7)
Here are some recommendations for social studies series that will entertain students while teaching the about the past. After teaching Middle School Social Studies, I have become passionate about a few of these high-interest series.