I teach English Language Arts to a passionate and energetic group of sixth graders. I have avid readers and readers still searching for a book with which they can fall in love. I also have those who once loved reading, but have fallen out of love with it. Middle school can most certainly be a turning point in a student's reading life, so I aim to find that "just right" book for every student. In sixth grade we are doing everything we can to inspire our students to grow, ignite, or rediscover their love of reading.
I am fortunate enough to interact with sixty students on a daily basis; sixty students who I hope to motivate by offering a wide variety of books to love.
We are the youngest grade in a middle school and we are working diligently to foster a love of reading. We are using Reader's Workshop and refining our practice in order to provide students with the opportunities and the skills to make reading choices of their own. I think that there is no better time than sixth grade to foster a love of reading and guide students toward a lifelong love of books.
Over the last several years we have been participating in the March Book Madness. It is an online bracket-style tournament created originally by two teachers in their own classrooms in Ohio. Fortunately for the rest of us, these two teachers shared their brilliant idea on the internet. Each year they carefully select sixteen novels for elementary, middle grade, and young adult readers. I hope to provide my students with access to this year's sixteen novels for the middle grade bracket. Students will preview, read, and even create a bracket based on their knowledge of the novels. The March Book Madness inspires students to fall in love with "their" book or books and motivates them to stay actively involved by reading and voting throughout the entire month.
Not only does this opportunity impact reading during the month of March, but it motivates students to read before voting and sparks interest to read from the list long after the voting has ended.
It has been such a success in the past that I am hoping to offer this year's sixth grade students the chance to participate. In 2019 I was fortunate enough to have a project funded for March Book Madness by the generosity of family, friends, and through this wonderful organization and its donors. In the years prior to 2019 and after, I have purchased the novels myself. When this is the case, I am unable to purchase more than one copy of each book. Through this project I hope to receive two copies of each novel to offer students throughout my three blocks of ELA. I have no doubt that given the opportunity, my students this year will fall in love with March Book Madness.
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