If your school is anything like mine, then you pine for the arrival of May almost as soon as April has begun. There is something about the beautiful weather and freedom to teach without throwing in test prep that makes May an infinitely better month than April. Book clubs are a must for my readers in May. They are older and more mature, and I reward their growth with increased autonomy. Yes, there are still readers who need my help (either with behavior or reading), but the majority of my readers are ready to collaborate independently. This month I am going to share a few of my overall favorite books to use for book clubs (I’ve linked my unit for each if you are looking for some easy, no prep plans):
Frindle – This is the perfect book for that group of students who always want to do it their own way! Frindle is a super fun story of a kid out to change the world…or at least what the world calls a pen. There are some great opportunities for discussion of character relationships and how they change. Get the unit here.
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – As a child, I LOVED this book. I imagined the thrill and excitement of running away to a museum and hiding out in the exhibits. Throw in the suspense of a mystery, and this is a can’t-miss book. I still love reading this book with my book groups in class; it is that good. Get the unit here.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle – I reread this book a few years ago in preparation of doing a book club, and I found that I enjoyed it on a whole different level as an adult. There are so many great lessons in this book, but it is also just plain funny! Plus, it is the perfect companion to the little known Clean Up Your Room Day on May 10th and a great engaging read for the last few weeks of school. Get the unit here.
Island of the Blue Dolphins – Another favorite book from childhood that I loved just as much as an adult. There is something about the adventure that comes from a character you can relate to going through the trials and tribulations of survival on her own. Get the unit here.
Old Yeller – Have you read Old Yeller? I am going to embarrass myself a little and admit that when it was assigned as a kid, I may have just skimmed it. However, I was working on a trifold the other day, and I was totally enthralled! Just be prepared for tears with the ending of this one. Get the unit here.
The Giver – I did not understand the nuances of this book as a kid, but I still loved the story. The differences in society and the depth of feeling in this book were fascinating. There is also a movie out now, so it would be a perfect book-to-movie comparison to end the year. Get the unit here.
Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Dolphins & Sharks – We also do some independent research at the end of the year. I love using the Magic Tree House informational texts for this, and there is always a group of students who are all about dolphins or sharks, so this is a must have book in my room. Get the unit plan here.
Who Was Babe Ruth? – Spring means baseball season, and this is a story of one of the greats. This book is perfect for that group of rough and tumble sports addicts in my class.