As a Classroom Case Manager at a small alternative school in Vermont, my job might be a little different than you might imagine. I’m a part of these kids daily school days, from helping them settle in in the morning and get a balanced breakfast to tying their shoes. I teach social skills, DBT, read aloud, and wellness, encouraging them to try new things and be respectful towards each other and themselves. My hope is that these kids will be able to take the skills they are using here and apply them to the rest of their lives, and it’s an education I certainly wish I had as a kid.
However, the most interesting thing I’ve had to do so far is teach Read Aloud. This has started as my classroom teacher thinks about moving to a different job outside of this school, and thinking about our long term plan for transitioning them away from having her as a stable figure. If you thought Read Aloud wasn’t a class, think again. I am having to make connections with the kids in ways that fulfill Vermont’s proficiency requirements, and that’s not even the most challenging part.
The most challenging part is picking books that the kids will enjoy and want to engage with while also finding a book that makes me excited to teach them. So begins my quest for diverse and meaningful middle grade reads that will excite 5th grade boys. Not to mention all the kids are at different ages and comprehension levels.
I’ve looked up some of the best Middle Grade books, and I’m excited to share my TBR list with you in my quest to find awesome books to read to them.
- Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
- One Last Word by Nikki Grimes and Cozbi Cabrera
- Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
- The Pants Project by Cat Clarke
- Ghost by Jason Reynolds
- The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya
- Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
- Posted by John David Anderson
- Rooting for Rafael Rosales by Kurtis Scaletta
- See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
- When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin
- Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker
- Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes
- The Stars Beneath our Feet by David Barclay Moore
- Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr
- Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
- Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy
- The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
- The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller
- The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
- Flying Lessons and Other Stories by Ellen Oh
- Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt
- Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
- City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
- Like Vanessa by Tami Charles
A couple YA that might be good for my group as well:
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Saenz
- The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton