Saturday, August 24, 2013

Books to challenge good readers

Since we have begun using Renaissance Place, many teachers are having their students take the STAR Reading test and using the results to assign reading levels. They ask the students to stay within the grade level range suggested by the test. A challenge with that method is finding books written at higher reading levels that are still appropriate for elementary school students. Many of the books written at 8th grade reading level and up are "Young Adult" and have explicit (adult) situations in them.

One way to find more "wholesome" content is to look for the classics - Mark Twain, Jules Verne, Louisa May Alcott, etc. They are more challenging because of the writing style and vocabulary, but don't have a lot of the inappropriate situations that modern YA literature can have. And as an added plus - many of them are available free on the Project Gutenberg website.

I've researched the Accelerated Reader list, looking for books that are leveled 8.0 and up, but have a recommended interest level of "middle grades" which is 4th  - 8th. I've created a list of links to the Gutenberg website for some titles that might fit our students. You can search their database yourself with the AR BookFinder. Click the Advanced Search tab and type in the reading level and interest level you are looking for, then see what pops up.

Some books with AR level 8.0 - 11.0:
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne AR 10.0
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain AR 8.1
Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maude Montgomery AR 8.6
Around the World in 80 Days by julkes Verne AR 9.6
The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson AR 9.0
Call of the Wild by Jack London AR 8.0
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens AR 9.5
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens AR 9.5
Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott AR 8.2
Grimm's Fairy Tales by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm AR 9.9
Hans Brinker; or, The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge AR 8.2
Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales AR 8.1
Heidi by Johanna Spyri AR 8.2
Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett AR 8.1
The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum AR 8.0
An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott AR 8.2
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain AR 9.5
The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald AR 8.4
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin AR 8.1
Rinkitink in Oz by L. Frank Baum AR 8.0
Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott AR 8.6
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson AR 9.4
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss AR 9.7
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson AR 8.3
The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault AR 10.4
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame AR 8.2

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