Educator Book Club discussion

suggestions for developmental reading

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message 1: by Jen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Jen I teach a developmental reading course at a community college and I'm looking for suggestions for novels to read in class. The class is below Comp. 101 (basically they're just not college ready and need a little extra work). I had them read Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time this semester. Most of them said it was the first book they had finished in a long time and they enjoyed it. That is a success in itself, but I am looking for some other ideas. I need a novel that they will actually get through, but that will lead to more in-depth and interesting discussion than we had with the other one. I would really appreciate suggestions. Thanks!

message 2: by Tracy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:53PM) (new)

Tracy | 1 comments I would recommend THE GIVER. I'm sure you've read it and it's listed for young readers, but I think it's a terrific read for anyone and everyone. This book will give you so much to talk about! Every word she writes matters. I've never seen a book that says so much with so few words!

Good luck and let us know what you pick!


message 3: by Karetchko (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:53PM) (new)

Karetchko | 2 comments Have you read Never Let Me Go? It's fairly easy to read and there's a lot to talk about.

I like The Giver a lot, too.

message 4: by Maria (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:54PM) (new)

Maria Tracy,

I would second The Giver. I just read it this year even though I'm 45 years old. I teach 3rd grade but read it for my own pleasure reading. I loved it and made my husband read it also. He usually only reads mystery/thrillers but he loved this one as well. He and I had a long discussion about the ending. It's a great book that I plan to reread one day.

message 5: by JoAnn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:54PM) (new)

JoAnn | 1 comments What about Running with Scissors or Naked by David Sedaris?

message 6: by Renee (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:55PM) (new)

Renee I am a Special Education Teacher and taught high school English (1997 - 1999)for "resource room" students (students who could not participate in typical classes). Finding interesting but low level reading books was a huge challenge! I used short story collections and sci-fi stories in my classroom successfully although there were times when I had to wade through a lot of "attitude" -Why do I have to read this? I don't like to read! etc.

I chose short stories because they were easier for my students to get through and they were excellent conversation starters - I learned a lot about my students through their reading assignments. Our high school has block scheduling so we got through a good chunk of work in 86 mins!

This collection of short stories is fabulous!

I chose William Sleator because his science fiction stories seemed perfect for my students who liked reading about weird stuff. Interstellar Pig was a great read aloud story.

I hope this helped!

message 7: by Aimee (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:55PM) (new)

Aimee | 1 comments The 5 People you meet in Heaven might be a good one.

message 8: by Rachel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:55PM) (new)

Rachel Burton (bookish_yogi) | 1 comments How I Live Now by Meg Rossoff might work. It's similar in it's design to Curious Incident but I think there is a depth to it that will lead to interesting dicussion

message 9: by Kathleen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Kathleen (standardreading) | 13 comments A lot of the young men (upper-middle school and high school boys) at my school really like the work of Walter Dean Myers. They've enjoyed Monster, Fallen Angels, Somewhere in the Darkness and Scorpions quite a lot. I've only read Monster and am starting Fallen Angels now, but I do really appreciate the realism of his work. Speak by Laurie Halse Andersen is also good. For students not up to the darkness in these stories, The Penderwicks is a wonderfully sweet story.

In terms of short stories, my students have been enjoying Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman this year--particularly M is for Magic.

message 10: by Misty (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Misty Another short story that my students have enjoyed is -The Scarlet Ibis-. Great discussion about symbolism.
- Misty

message 11: by Cameron (new)

Cameron | 7 comments Kurt Vonnegut's novels are actually quite accessible in language and diction complexity. There will likely be those that hate it, but most can find either the humor, the story, the satire, or at least, the length worthwile.

I also found the Alchemist by Coehlo to be somewhat simpler in language and structure. Quite visual, yet fairly direct in plotline.

Each of these would provide a fairly basic framework containing some pretty complex ideas, which it sounds like might be what you're looking for.

message 12: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) Any books by Jodi Picoult are good book discussions. Not sure if you are familair with her. I recommend Nineteen Minutes.

message 13: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Puett (litambassador) | 3 comments Since I don't actually know the levels of your students, I'll make one specific recommendation:

Any of John H. Ritter's books

I'd also ask you to think outside the box and choose a theme or genre and let students discover their own books with your help to read. Whole group novel studies aren't nearly as effective for struggling readers as are authentic, self-selected texts that can be discussed, recommended, tried and rejected or devoured. I just finished reading Donalyn's The Book Whisperer and, although her class is 6th grade, I believe she has ideas that will help you.
This might also help:

message 14: by Pam (new)

Pam | 3 comments Hunger Games and Catching Fire are very popular with the below level college freshmen with whom I have worked.

message 15: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Puett (litambassador) | 3 comments Earlier when I posted I couldn't think of another resource but I since found it. This may be too low but they are authentically adult stories with simpler text. Might be good to have "on the side" for quick reads:

message 16: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (joseph_ferrerosa) | 7 comments I too am interested in this and have some ideas, but am always up to other suggestions. I plan to teach developmental writing in the summer at a university. Unfortunately the classes are extremely intense: 4 hours, twice a week! Any suggestion would be welcome! I have a suggestion: The Phantom Tollbooth. It's a novel many read as a child, but has even more meaning for adults!

message 17: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (joseph_ferrerosa) | 7 comments Since my last post, I've tried various works that worked. "Fight Club" is difficult, but popular among students since they know the film. "Ring" by Koji Suzuki (source for the film) is a great choice. Students absolutely absorb it and it's quite easy to follow thanks to the English translation. "A Clockwork Orange" works though recently I noticed my students seem less interested in it. "Dracula" and "V for Vendetta" also became fairly popular.

I attempted "Hunger Games" and "Catching Fire" and almost all my students loved the second one because of its political nature. One that didn't work well at all was "The Man Who Was Thursday."

As for short stories, I really like "40 Short Stories" adding some works related to a theme.

message 18: by R. (new)

R. Walraven | 6 comments Jen wrote: "I teach a developmental reading course at a community college and I'm looking for suggestions for novels to read in class. The class is below Comp. 101 (basically they're just not college ready and..."

See An amazing reading program that rewires the reader's brain to read as well as they can speak. I've tutored in the program for 3rd grade through 60-year olds. It's like watching miracles happen, no matter the reading challenge. --R. Janet Walraven

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