One of the focal points of our reading community this year has been the books we've encountered along our journey together. Last week I asked students to revisit their Reading Logs and make a list of the top 10 books they've read this year that they think EVERY 5th grader should read. In yesterday's post, I shared titles 10 through 6. So without further ado....here are our TOP 5 TITLES! I think they've given us 5 very worthy titles!
Bigger Than a Breadbox
by Laurel Snyder
Out of My Mind
by Sharon M. Draper
by Gary Paulsen
Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot"
by Michael O. Tunnell
And the title my class chose as the NUMBER ONE book every 5th grader should read is...
by R.J. Palacio
As I reflect on this list of titles I am reminded of how important it is to build a reading community from the very first day of school. My students and I have spent the year reading, recommending, and talking about books and authors. Several priorities I had for building my community of readers this year are reflected loud and clear in this list:
1. Being a teacher who reads the books that my students read is a powerful example that declares to students that reading is an empowering, engaging, life-enhancing experience. If I wasn't a reader myself, who made reading and book talking a priority in my classroom, students may not have found many of these books.
2. State Student Choice Awards programs such as the Maine Student Book Award can expand students reading interests by encouraging them to read, evaluate, and enjoy a selection of new books when a school supports and promotes them in fun, engaging ways. Many of the titles on our Top Ten List came from the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 lists.
3. Providing opportunities for students to meet real live authors is a powerful way to introduce them to new titles and provide real-world writing mentors. Our Author in Residence visit, Skype visits and interactions on Twitter are strongly reflected in this list!
4. There is absolutely no better way to build a community of readers than by reading books aloud and having extended, invested discussions. More than half the books on our Top Ten list are that I read aloud to students. Books with characters and messages that have settled deep in our beings and won't soon be forgotten. Reading aloud to students is NOT a time filler but rather a time to knit our thoughts and ideas together in a way that binds us together as a true reading community!