The books featured in this project will be used by approximately 100 third graders. They attend a K-8 center in South Florida, where I am lucky enough to be the librarian. A word or two about our wonderful kids and their school: about 85% of the children come from households with below average income; our students tend to be first-generation Americans whose parents have recently arrived in the U.S. from the Caribbean, or from Central or South America; we do not have an affluent PTA that could help us purchase books for the library. I specifically want to purchase books for the third grade. That's when kids move on from easy, heavily-illustrated books to lightly-illustrated, brief chapter books. That's quite a big step. I want to facilitate the kids' transition to chapter books by purchasing two sets of paperbacks: 30 copies of 'Dinosaurs Before Dark', the first in the famous 'Magic Tree House' series, and 30 copies of 'I Survived the Nazi Invasion', one of the 'I Survived' series, set in and around the Warsaw ghetto.
Besides helping the kids improve their reading, these titles will reinforce the curriculum, teaching the children more about prehistory and also about the Holocaust.
The third graders will each have a copy of the books and will read them in reading circles with either their home room teacher or with me. The role of the adult is to 'think aloud' on every page, reacting to the text and making predictions, teaching / encouraging the kids to engage with the printed word, and to spur the children to make connections with their knowledge of prehistory / the Holocaust. Each book belongs to an excellent, extensive series of titles. We have those series in the library.
The culminating lesson is to bring the classes down to the library, show them the many other titles in each series and encourage the kids to check those books out!
I hope to start a competition to see how many titles in each series our third graders can read.
As you can see, this project works on several levels. I think the kids are really going to enjoy these books and will learn a lot. Please consider helping out our third graders!
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