My students include 7th grade special education students in a low-income, public school in a suburb of Chicago. All of them are either on the autism spectrum or have other diagnosed learning and/or emotional disabilities. Most of my students are in the general education classroom for the majority of the school day in a co-taught inclusion setting. For short periods throughout the day, some of them also come to my room in small groups for more intensive instruction in reading and writing. While in my room, they are able to work on the skills they are lacking to help them gain academic, behavioral, and social success and close the gap between them and their typically developing peers.
The majority of my students have a history of struggling academically, and reading books is typically not high on their list of interests. However, the book Stuck in Neutral by Terry Truman is one book that I have used time and time again to get reluctant readers to read! Because so many students are interested in reading this book, I would love to add it to the curriculum as a class novel set.
By helping support this project, you will be providing my students with well-deserved literature that will not only teach them powerful academic and life lessons but will also motivate them to read!
Stuck in Neutral is a high interest, low readability novel written from the perspective of a teenage boy who has cerebral palsy. This book calls into question the assumption made by many that a severe physical disability automatically indicates a severe mental disability. The story has a strong protagonist that students can relate to, and it helps promote empathy and the social-emotional development of teens. Cruise Control, the same story told from a different character's point of view, and Life Happens Next, the continuation of Stuck in Neutral, are equally as appealing to teens and help teach important literary skills. These books would be used for literature circles for students who wish to read more from Terry Truman.
All children deserve to have good books. With your help, my students will be provided with literature that is both accessible and appealing to their interests.
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