Read-Aloud Recommendations for Middle School

Over at the A to Z Teacher Stuff forums, CanadianTeacher asks about reading aloud in middle school:

Do any of you middle school teachers do read aloud novels? I love to read aloud and I think most kids still like to be read to at this age, but I wonder….Do you follow up with activities of any kind or do you just do it for the pleasure factor (if you do it at all). I’d like to incorporate this into my curriculum, but I’d like some feedback as to it’ value at this age.

Here’s the answer I posted there:

To me, read-alouds are for the sheer pleasure of an entire class sharing a reading experience. As long as students are listening and paying attention, I don’t usually assign any work to go along with the read-aloud.

I read to my eighth graders at the beginning of class to settle them down and get them to class on time. A well-chosen book can be the best remedy for tardiness. No one wants to miss a word. I usually read for 5-10 minutes.

Some of the most successful books I’ve read aloud: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Dante’s Inferno (I couldn’t believe they liked it as much as they did, but they begged me to keep reading), and the most popular read-aloud I’ve ever done, The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

The Princess Bride has become so popular that many of my incoming students expect me to read it to them, because their older brothers and sisters have told them about it. I love reading it too, because I get to do all the accents. I usually skip most of the author intrusions (the long italicized sections) and just summarize them. After we finish the book we watch the movie (which a suprising number of my students have never seen).

Do you have any recommendations or suggestions for reading aloud? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

4 Responses

  1. Sandie says:

    I read aloud even to my advanced high schoolers! Reading aloud or using an audio book as a group can be a very powerful tool as well as the sheer pleasure it brings.

    A few that have been especially loved: Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen; Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams; Paradise Lost by John Milton and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

  2. Nick says:

    Thanks for the great book suggestions. The one that jumps out at me right now is Touching Spirit Bear. I’m going to look into reading that to my class this year.

    Thanks again!

  3. Do you think that The Princess Bride would be as exciting as a read-aloud if you didn’t do the accents/voices? I’m not certain I would be great at that!

  4. Janet says:

    I read to my middle school students every day. They enjoyed picture books: Calvin Can’t Fly by Jennifer Berne;The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano;City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems;and Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. I have read: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson;The River Between Us by Richard peck;The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B Cooney; The Wave by Todd Strasser;Sparrow Hawk Red by Ben Mikaelsen; Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman and The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn. They love being read to. I read at the beginning of each period.

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