I spent a couple of hours at the library today looking for books for the class. It was great just spending time with the librarian who was so on fire about kids reading. I mentioned to her that I was looking for something to read to 7th graders and she recommended a book called The Read-Aloud Handbook that is full of suggestions by grade level. She was so enthusiastic about the author of this book and his passion for reading -- she couldn't recommend the book highly enough. She was just thrilled that I was reading aloud to 7th graders -- I think people generally stop reading aloud to middle school students. Anyway, my students just love being read to.
I also left the library with a few ideas for books. I'm looking for two books -- one to read aloud, another to have as a class reader next month. Here's what I came out with:
Freak the Mighty (read aloud)
The City of Ember (read aloud)
A Day No Pigs Would Die (either?)
I, Juan de Pareja (either?)
A Single Shard (highly recommended, maybe good when we do geography of Asia in the spring)
Woodsong (by Gary Paulsen, also highly recommended)
Loser (Jerry Spinelli, probably not something I would either read to the class or recommend for a reader, just the title puts me off a bit, but I'll give it a shot)
The Yearling (I'm not sure what to do about this one. It's so sad, but also a really good read, and just the kind of book I would have as a class reader. It's also quite long and I'm not sure that all of them could get through it in the time allowed.)
Anyway, those are my options right now. I'm really looking for a good classic coming-of-age story that I could give them as a reader. For now I'll start on these and maybe do some surfing.