I teach special ed language arts at a high poverty school in Southeast Seattle. Every kid who gets put in my room struggles with reading, so my class can be a real challenge for all of them. But my students have more courage and heart than you would ever believe. It's my job to make the class inviting and pleasant and comfortable and to provide for their needs so that they are able to do the HARD work of facing their struggles.
I attended this middle school myself, and I came back here to teach because I know first hand what so many of our students struggle with on a daily basis.
Our students overcome all kinds of obstacles, including poverty, racism, and learning English (the majority of our families don't speak English at home). It's an amazing school. Our school is a fantastic place. We are among the top 10% of Seattle Schools for student academic growth per student per year.
Our classroom follows the Reading & Writing Workshop model from Teachers College in New York. That means we emphasize their independent reading as a way to practice the skills we're teaching in class and that students are regularly using their books to demonstrate their skills.
With independent reading being such a cornerstone of building strong readers for life and for their success in class, I have to have awesome books for students to be excited about.
Many of my reluctant readers are drawn towards graphic novels and I need more books they can easily access. Even a trip to the library can be a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to these students. Help me put books within their reach that capture their imagination and give them a gateway into a love of reading. The books on this list are books that students have either requested, or are continuations of series, authors, or genres that they said they know they like.
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