My students are primarily at-risk, low income, struggling readers. My school is a dropout prevention alternative school. Our students typically struggle with reading comprehension and motivation, so we work in small class settings to help give each student what they need.
My students come to our school because a traditional school hasn’t worked for them for one reason or another, so we really try to make our school work for them by catering to their interests and abilities to help them be successful.
What kid hasn’t heard of books like Hunger Games and Divergent? There’s a reason for that - other than the fact that they’re also popular movies. I mean, they had to be great stories for someone to want to turn them into movies, right? This genre of books is so popular for teens because it offers an escape from regular life but in a way that forces us to consider the “what if” of it all. What if the events in our government right now are paving the way for a world like this? What if this was my reality? What if...? The novel Matched is such a great take on censorship, individuality, and yes even love! I would love to add this novel to my curriculum after hearing numerous requests for a book like Divergent or Unwind.
Along with Matched, I’m asking for two novels in verse, which means that instead of a traditional format, they are written like poetry.
This sounds scary and complicated, but in fact these novels are shorter, more accessible, and less daunting than traditional novels. They aren’t overly complex like poetry; they are simply written with fewer words. My students are extremely reluctant to read anything, so I would like to use these books to build their confidence and love of reading.
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