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Booklist: For Struggling High School Readers

May 10th, 2008 (07:40 pm)
thirsty

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: SVU score music

In March, I had a special request from high school English teachers who needed books for their students reading at a high elementary/middle school level. Here, in part, was my response:

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin is one of my all-time favorite books. It has characters of every age, and I consider it a book for all ages. It's also a Newbery Award winner, and there are teaching guides for it out there.

Have them try short stories by classic authors. That way, they aren't reading "books for babies," but something they can really sink their teeth into and build on later. Try the short stories of Jack London, Lewis Carroll, and Edgar Allan Poe. Delicious.

For a magic/fantasy series, get OutCast by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski. It's imaginative and action-packed. It's done especially well with boys who are reluctant readers. The quartet must be read in order:
- The Un-Magician
- Dragon Secrets
- Ghostfire
- Wurm War

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli is a contemporary read that is memorable, award-winning, and straightforward, as is Nothing but the Truth by Avi. Of the two, I favor Maniac Magee, but note that Nothing but the Truth takes place in high school.

Of the contemporary collections included on my Quick Reads and Short Stories booklist, Twice Told: Original Stories Inspired by Original Art by Scott Hunt really jumps out for analysis, because though the stories are brief, many of them are deep and address gender/cultural identity, orientation, death, and abuse.

The same for 21 Proms edited by David Levithan (stories about prom written by various authors) How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan (18 stories all written by David) - short stories with older content - some stories are tame, others more racy.

Also try the Orca Soundings line, which is written specifically for high schoolers who don't want (or can't get through) long books and want contemporary, daring storylines. Think Degrassi: the Next Generation.

For more suggestions, just ask.

Comments

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 6th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
Short Stories

I wish I'd started reading
short stories seriously when
I was in high school.

Terry Finley

http://terryrfinley.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 6th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Short Stories

I still prefer full-length novels to short stories, but I do read shorts on occasion. One of the best short stories I ever read was less than 50 words long.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 6th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
Many Thanks

These sound like great books for anyone to devour. Here in the Tub we have a particularly large soft spot for struggling readers!

Terry
http://www.thereadingtub.blogspot.com
http://www.thereadingtub.com

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 6th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Many Thanks

Thank you! I have the booklists organized by topic/audience here, and chronologically by post here.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 7th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
La Casa en Mango Street

I've always thought House on Mango Street by Cisneros was good for struggling High School readers. The chapters are short and readers can relate to the character talking about her neighborhood

Doret

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 7th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
Re: La Casa en Mango Street

I've seen that book on several high school required reading lists. I have yet to read it myself.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 7th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC)
Re: La Casa en Mango Street

You should check it out. Its a very quick read. Its simplicty makes it beautiful.

Doret

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 7th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
Re: La Casa en Mango Street

:)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: June 30th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
thanks!

This helps a bunch. Especially the short stories. Levithan rocks--NICK AND NORA is one that my 8th graders were fighting over.

Posted by: mandabach (mandabach)
Posted at: June 30th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks!

didn't mean to post anonymously--this is me. :)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 30th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks!

Howdy.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 30th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks!

Thanks! I hope the film is decent.

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