Dog Eared

Books we love

Get the Kids Reading!

Want to get your students (or children) excited about reading? We thought so. So we called up Georgia Scurletis, the amazing curriculum expert -- and veteran New York City high school English teacher -- who puts together our Visual Thesaurus lesson plans, for her advice. Georgia's picks:

A classic: Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre
"A love story that even a feminist can love... This novel turns the Cinderella tale on its head and allows students to see the Victorian Age through the eyes of the young impish narrator Jane. It's chock full of challenging and rich vocabulary, but the kids are motivated to keep reading since the narration is so compelling."

A page turner: Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain
"Maybe it's not true 'lit-tra-ture,' but it gets the kids reading. I had several ninth grade students that told me that this was the first novel they had actually finished before it 'was due.' The characters are not more substantial than cardboard cut-outs, but the plot-driven tale of an out-of-control alien virus is pretty cool (especially considering that Crichton wrote this long before the Ebola outbreak and the bestselling The Hot Zone). It offers many opportunities for interdisciplinary connections for those teachers looking for a fun way to 'humanize' science for their students."

A memoir: Jack Gantos's Hole in My Life
"Confession: I've never taught this (but that doesn't mean I don't want to...) I discovered this book while writing a ninth grade curriculum focused on the theme of 'identity.' It's a 'young adult' memoir in which Gantos explains how he got involved in a drug-smuggling plot that landed him in jail at age twenty. I think young readers would be able to relate to Gantos since his writing is down-to-earth, convincing, and ultimately inspiring."

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Comments from our users:

Friday December 7th 2007, 8:11 PM
Comment by: Laura M.
Thank you!! We'll definately be trying Crichton's book. Any other desperate parents out there might try multiple copies of a chosen book with family members either reading together silently or taking turns reading outloud. The latter at least ensures that your teenager, the one who'd prefer a root canal to SSR (Silent Sustained Reading ... how our school system managed to turn our reluctant reader completely off reading altogether), is actually reading rather than "zoning." Thank you Ms. Curletis -- any ideas for students who learn "outside the box" are greatly welcomed!!

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