[DWJ] fifth grade DEAR shelf

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Wed Aug 8 08:50:04 EDT 2007

Here's another one for "that time of year again".

I'm the unofficial library consultant for my housemate's
inner-city charter school (possibly official, this year). Over
the past several years, I've helped her build up a pretty
substantial DEAR shelf. (That's Drop Everything and Read, the
shelf of pleasure reading books for the period during the day
when the students just read.) Both of us are extremely proud that
over the last few years this population of heavily ESL, heavily
special needs kids has turned into avid readers. Of course, since
it's the two of us building the DEAR shelf, many of them have
turned into avid *fantasy and science fiction* readers. *g*

This year, for the first time, they are going to have a fifth
grade in the school, and that really skirts the lower boundaries
of my book expertise. Any and all suggestions about what would be
good pleasure reading books for fifth graders would be welcome. A
large percentage of the kids are definitely going to have a lower
reading level, and a large percentage of the kids are definitely
going to have limited English proficiency. Our strengths are
going to be science fiction and fantasy, as I said above, so
particularly welcome would be suggestions that include
nonfiction, sports books, urban issues, and, as always, Latino
characters (we've got Pamela Munoz Ryan, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Gary
Soto). She doesn't want any graphic novels; she doesn't dispute
that graphic novels can be literature, but she says the most
important thing with these kids is that they be exposed to lots
of English, and that the literacy skills they need to learn right
now are prose literacy not graphical literacy.

To keep this on topic, which DWJ should go on the fifth-grade
shelf? *g*

And as a separate question, what age would you give Sandra
Cisneros' A House on Mango Street to?

And actually, for all grades in school, which is 5-8
(10-13-year-olds, for the non-Americans), what are good books for
kids who want to be reading books that are content-wise at their
age level but who might have poor reading skills or limited
English proficiency? We've discovered the Orca Soundings imprint,
which is specifically young adult books for kids at a lower
reading level than their age, and which is absolutely fabulous.
Still, more suggestions would be great.

Thank you, all wonderful people!

I would rather go honestly to Hell, admitting that I leaped
knowingly into error and folly, than enter into the sweetest
Heaven men can dream of by whining that I had been pushed.
 		-- Freedom & Necesssity

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