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marissa's avatar

Do you have any suggestions for a book selection for a book club for 3rd graders?

Asked by marissa (2659points) August 7th, 2008

I’m thinking maybe Artemis Fowl, but it maybe too long. It needs to be something of interest to boys and girls and something that isn’t too long or too difficult to read.

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30 Answers

SuperMouse's avatar

Frindle by Andrew Clements – almost anything by Andrew Clements. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls-Wilder. Believe it or not, the “Little House” books are great for boys and girls, Pa is always building something or hunting so the boys love that stuff. I picked Farmer Boy because it has the most “boy friendly” name, but they are all great. You can’t go wrong with almost anything by Jerry Spinelli. I could probably go on and on, but I’ll stop there!

jholler's avatar

the Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, I think.

shrubbery's avatar

Some Odo Hirsch? The Hazel Greens are probably more for girls since the protagonist is a girl but she gets up to some mischief with the boys in her apartment building so who knows. And the Bartletts would appeal to both girls and boys I think. Or there’s always Frankel Mouse and Antonio S. Or maybe some Roald Dahl perhaps? orrr… Andy Griffiths could be fun :)

SuperMouse's avatar

Shrubbery made me think of The Tale of Despereaux by Kate di Camillo. It is an adventure (for the boys) and a very sweet love story (for the girls).

girlofscience's avatar

@jholler: I really do love The Giving Tree, but it doesn’t seem like the most appropriate thing for a book club for third graders? It only takes about 15 minutes to read the entire book, and that wouldn’t be a challenge for third graders. It’s a great story, but not exactly book club material.

SuperMouse's avatar

@girlofscience and jholler, Where the Sidewalk Ends also by Shel Silverstein might be a good option!

(You might be able to tell I’m addicted to books! There is nothing I love more than finding great books to read to my boys! )

MacBean's avatar

Definitely Roald Dahl. Everyone should be exposed to his work at a young age. He’s so twisted. XD

My favorites:
James and the Giant Peach
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Twits
The BFG
Matilda

marissa's avatar

Thanks for all the suggestions! I actually already have some of the books mentioned, but hadn’t thought of them for the book club. I’ll have to go reread them.

girlofscience's avatar

I am trying to remember what else I read in third grade. The Giver is another amazing Lois Lowry book.

MacBean's avatar

I almost said The Giver, but my class read that in sixth grade and it was still pretty heavy stuff for most people.

rowenaz's avatar

The Spiderwick Chronicles (series) *
Franny K Stein, Mad Scientist (series) *
Catwings (series)
Dragonriders (series)
Dear Dumb Diary (hysterically funny)
Rainbow Fairies (series) *
My Secret Unicorn (series) *

* those were voted favorites by my third graders

marissa's avatar

Wow, a fantastic list rowenaz!

sarahsugs's avatar

I assume by “book club” you mean that the kids will be reading these themselves. If so, a lot of the suggestions above seem way too hard for third grade. When I have done book clubs in the past with third graders I have picked much easier chapter books, like the Cam Jansen mysteries, or the Horrible Harry books, or even the Arthur (like the cartoon) books. Beverly Clearly might work for advanced readers. In my experience it can be the death of a book club to give them a text that is over their heads. Better that it is slightly too easy so they can focus on the discussion skills that book clubs are all about.

janbb's avatar

Yes, it would depend a lot on if the kids are reading it for themselves.

If you are reading it, I think Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little could be good.

I loved the Edward Eager magic books around that age but they would have to be good readers. My boys enjoyed Encyclopedia Brown and Beverly Cleary.

I am a librarian but I’ve been in a college library for the past 11 years so I am not up-to-date on current kiddie lit.

marissa's avatar

Yes, the kids will read it themselves.

marissa's avatar

My goal is to expose them to the joy of reading a book and discussing it with others, rather than their ability to read more challenging books.

nina's avatar

Judy Blume – Tales of the 4th Grade Nothing and others
Louis Sachar – Wayside School is Falling Down and others
The Harry Potter books
C. S. Lewis – ‘The Cronicles of Narnia’

And, my personal favorites:

Lewis Carrol – ’‘Alice in Wonderland’
Rudyard Kipling – ‘Just so Stories’

gailcalled's avatar

Maurice Sendak’s books.

BarbieM's avatar

The Mouse and the Motorcycle was one of my daughter’s favorites in 2nd grade. She’s a little ahead in reading, so it should be good for 3rd graders.

MacBean's avatar

Oh! I was completely in love with Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing and the rest of the Fudge books when I was little! Dammit, now I want to re-read them…

gailcalled's avatar

When I was in fifth grade, our teacher read a chapter of Stuart Little at the end of each day. Then Charlotte’s Web. They seem a little sophisticated for third graders, who are, if I remember correctly, at the “See Spot. See Spot run.“stage. I feel the same way about Carrol, KIpling, Rowling, Blume and Roald Dahl: wonderful but meant for 9–10-11 year olds.

MacBean's avatar

Third grade is typically 8–9 years old, isn’t it? If they’re still at “See Spot run,” that’s just tragic…

gailcalled's avatar

I was 7–8 in third grade. Clearly times have changed.

girlofscience's avatar

@MacBean: I agree. I was reading full novels on my own by 7!

sarahsugs's avatar

@Marissa – You may already be doing this, but consider assigning “roles” to the kids to scaffold their discussions during their book clubs. (This is funny timing actually – I teach 3rd grade too and my co-teachers and I were just planning out how we will start book clubs next week.) Roles I have used in the past include Summarizer (summarizes the chapter that was read), Predicter (makes predictions for upcoming chapters), Questioner (poses questions about the reading for the group to discuss), Word Wizard (looks up challenging words and offers definitions), Connecter (makes connections to real-life experience), Facilitator (makes sure everyone has equal air time), and so on. Obviously the end goal is to have them able to discuss a book without specific roles, but that is a lot to expect from 3rd graders. I also recommend teaching “dicussion helpers” – phrases that the kids can use to make their discussions more sophisticated – such as “I agree with ___ because ___” “I disagree with ___ because ___” “I am wondering ___” “What do you think about ____” “In my opinion ___” “What is your opinion about ___?” ”[Name], what do you think?” and so on.

Today with my coteachers we decided to really structure the book clubs at first. This is our plan for how to get them up and running:

1. Do a whole class book club (xeroxing a book if necessary so everyone has a copy) in order to teach each role. Each day we will read a portion of the book and the whole class will practice one role, recording their ideas on an organizer of some kind. We’ll do this until everyone has done every role as a whole class.

2. Do another whole class book club, and this time assign groups of 4 kids to practice each role together, then have a whole class discussion where the groups can support each other in playing out their roles.

3. Move from there into teacher-facilitated book clubs for a while, while the kids practice their roles even more, and practice putting them all together with the discussion helpers.

4. Finally (probably by Jan/Feb) move into independent book clubs where the kids can have a discussion more or less independently of the teacher, using the roles.

5. At some point (or maybe not at all this year, depending on the kids), wean them off the roles and introduce more organic, free-flowing discussions, now that they have a lot of tools in their back pockets, so to speak.

Whew! That was helpful for me too. Good luck! :-)

rowenaz's avatar

@Sarahsugs – I teach in an inner city public school, the reading list I put above is not what I would do with those kids, because yes, it would be too hard for the majority of them, many of whom are not reading at grade level. But if they are reading it together, not independently, that’s a whole other story. The list above is what we did in my local school district with third graders, who were at the third grade reading level, or above.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Gail and MacBean, FYI, I have an 8 year-old and 9 year-old, they are both reading at grade level (going into third and fourth), and could read any of the books listed above. My youngest is going into first grade and he is at the “see spot run” point.

rowenaz's avatar

Don’t forget, that if you are every unsure of the reading level, you can go to Amazon and search for the book, and under“Product Details” you can find a recommended age range for that book. You want to choose books that are JUST A LITTLE harder than their ability, because that’s what makes growth. 3rd is a particularly hard age, because they may be more toward the early stages (4–8) or more fluent readers (9–12). If you are a mom who wants to start a reading club, and you don’t know their levels, give them a start on an easier book, and ask them if it was just right. The JUST RIGHT rule is used all over, where a child reads, and if on a single page there are five new words, s/he should choose a different book. Good Luck and Happy Reading!

http://www.learnnc.org/lp/media/articles/mparks0608–1/parenttips.html
http://www.tooter4kids.com/classroom/how_to_choose_a_book.htm

marissa's avatar

Thank you so much for all this input! I am delighted!

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