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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Back to School Read Alouds

As a long time 5th grade teacher, I have found 5th graders still love to hear read alouds. Most of the class will still come gather on the floor around my chair.
My very first year teaching, while browsing the public library a few days before school started, I found this book on the shelf: The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of 5th Grade by Ken Derby.  I was intrigued since I was teaching 5th grade and did not really know how I was going to start the year.  I took it home and read the first part- decided it was good to start out the year as a read aloud.  (No, I did not finish reading before I read it aloud to my class. I didn't know any better.)

The kids loved it . . . . . . . 

They could not wait for me to read it each day.
 In fact in the first Scholastic book order the book was there and about 10 students ordered it.  
The book focuses on Anthony Madison, AKA Tony Baloney.   He is obsesses with The Late Show with David Letterman and his Top 10 Lists.  He is a little nervous about going to fifth grade, and his year does not start out so well.  The book is hilarious and the humor would appeal to upper elementary school and middle school. It is a fairly quick read, and I normally finish it during the first week or two of school (depending on how long bus call takes those first few afternoons).
That first year we read the book and I started the students writing a Top 10 list of their own, but I don't think we ever followed through. 
Follow Up Activity
Every year as we are nearing the end of the book I have students brainstorm topics for their own Top 10 Lists.  I tell them it has to be school related.  During the beginning of the year, I always review sentence structure.  The students then write their own Top 10 List.  It makes a great display for our Curriculum Night (an evening a few weeks into school where all the parents come to hear about the class).
The book has since been renamed Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of School.  Amazon: Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of School
What are your favorite books to start the school year?