I teach 5th grade at a school in South San Diego. I've taught 5th grade for over 8 years now. I love the age and everything about the kids in 5th grade.
My favorite thing about teaching, and subconsciously probably the main reason I became a teacher in the first place, is sharing my love of reading with my students. I haven't perfected it, but I'd like to think of myself as a little bit of "book whisperer" at my school. I have parents that constantly come back to tell me how much I've changed their child's life by helping them to love books. THAT is the biggest compliment I can get as a teacher.
Unfortunately because of the deep budget cuts in education, our school library is only open two days a week, which means our kids have very limited access to the MANY books just sitting on the shelves waiting to be checked out. :( The worst part of it is my kids have limited access to the nonfiction titles in the school library. I only have one shelf of nonfiction in my classroom library.
However, the upside to this is the my students are mostly relying on my classroom library to feed their reading appetites this year. Lucky for them, they're in MY class this year and their teacher owns more than 1200+ books. The great thing is that my kids are digging deeper into my library than I've had for many years now and I am so excited that they're exploring different genres and authors. I can't wait for the next Scholastic book order to add more titles that I think they'll love! :)
Each year, I love seeing which books/series catch on and spreads like fire in my class. Without fail, Goosebumps always catches on each year and so does The Lightning Thief, but there are several unexpected "fires" going strong right now and I wanted to share that with you.
Without further ado, here's a list of the BOOK HIGHLIGHTS in my classroom as of 1st quarter:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Each year, I'm always surprised by how many kids have NOT read Diary of a Wimpy Kid by the time they reach 5th grade, but when they do they just devour them one after another. I don't have to push these books at all, which is awesome. I just wish it had a better message. I've only read the first one, but based off of my student's reading journal letters, it sounds like there's a LOT of bullying going on. I'd really hate to promote something that's promoting bullying, but I guess I'll have to read more to see what it's really about. Does anyone have any insight into this series they can share with me?
Magic School Bus
I inherited a huge tub of Magic School Bus books from my mother-in-law who was also an elementary school for many years. Year and year, I wished someone would pick one up and I don't know WHO started reading them this year, but they are probably the most read books in my classroom at the moment. I LOVED Magic School Bus as a kid, so it's exciting to see a new generation enjoy them. And they aren't reading just one, they are reading all of them.
Beverly Cleary books
Who Was? biographies
I have tons of biographies. I think I own almost every single "Who Was?" biography there is out there. Same thing like the other books mentioned above, year after year, I have kids dabble in and out of this tub, but right now there's a little "fire" building for biographies. My Who Was Anne Frank? is MIA at the moment and I have another kid asking me for it. Looks like we need to add more too our library!
I have Donalyn Miller's 40 Book Challenge (from her book The Book Whisperer) to thank for the diversity of books my students are reading this year. This is the first year that I'm fully implementing the challenge and I know that my kids are finally venturing out into different genres because of it.
Now if only I can get them digging into my historical fiction tubs!
Plans for next quarter:
I am planning on building my graphic novels tub in my library because I want to give my kids more options other than Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I think @mrschureads and especially @colbysharp have me SOLD on Babymouse, so that's next on my to-buy list. :)
Here's to many, many more FIRES this year!