Tuesday, October 21, 2014

High-Interest Books for new, struggling or reluctant readers

I have a lot of students in my class that are English Language Learners (ELL). As fourth graders, they're drawn to books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Bone, Harry Potter and Dear Dumb Diary. Don't get me wrong, Harry Potter is my favorite book of all time, but I need my kids to be reading on their reading level and the vast majority of my students (22 out of 24, actually) are reading below-grade level.

For the past four years of my teaching career, I have consistently struggled to find high-interest books that intrigue intermediate readers but are also written at a lower lexile level for my ELL students.

SO!!! I would like to share with you this month's most popular high-interest book written for lower-level readers that was a hit in my classroom! My students were dying to have their turn reading this book, I even ordered more copies from Amazon tonight.

The Candy Corn Contest by Patricia Reilly Giff!

The book is called The Candy Corn Contest and it's appealing to all my fourth graders but is written at a 20 DRA level (Grade level 3.2; Guided Reading Level L). The book is a chapter book, is a good length (82 pages) and the text-size looks like a fourth grade-level book. I know that's a lot of details, but if a book looks too "baby-ish" to my kids, they often aren't interested in reading it. And it is, of course, perfect for October because it's about candy corn, but the book takes place in November after Halloween.

Here is the summary from Amazon: 
"It's almost Thanksgiving and Richard Best can't stop thinking about Ms. Rooney's Candy Corn contest. Whoever can guess the exact number of yellow-and-orange candies in the jar on ms. Rooneys' desk gets to keep them all. The only problem is Richard has to read a page in a library book for each guess. Smelly Matthew, who sits in front of him, knows they'll never win. "We're the worst readers in the class," he says. But Richard won't give up. He can already taste those candy corns."