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Subject: What should I read to 4th graders? rss

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JessA
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Tomorrow is our school's "Read-In". I am a guest reader and I need to read to two 4th grade classes (they're mostly 10 year olds). I'll read for 20 minutes in each room. I get to choose the books.

I have some ideas, but I'd love to hear your suggestions. I was thinking it'd be cool to read part of a chapter book and stop at an exciting part so the kids would want to read the book on their own to see what happens. Or maybe I should go the humor route.

thanks in advance!

 
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Ed Holzman
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I vote for the humor route. Nothing interests children more than seeing a grown up act like a goofball. It is a sneaky way to get them interested in something that they may normally dismiss as boring. It may sound trite, but I believe "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" by Judy Blume would be a perfect fit. As a collection of vignettes rather than one big continuous story, you could easily fit one episode into a 20 minute setting. And just about everyone with a younger sibling can relate to Peter and Fudge.
 
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Rachel Wolfe
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Here are a few books I liked when I was about that age:

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'Brien

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin

Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card

Of these, I would probably recommend The Westing Game the most highly, for your particular situation. It's very funny and suspenseful.
 
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Michael Barlow
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My 10 year old newphew (well he's 12 now) loves the Redwall books (Brian Jacques), Terry Pratchett (the Maurice the cat one), and the Hardy Boys. Douglas Adams would be my uninfluenced choice!
 
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Chief Slovenly
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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

American Psycho

Oliver Twist

Lolita



(OK, I'm sorry for that last one. Actually, I think I remember loving Roald Dahl around fourth grade. I remember loving all his stories, but The Fantastic Mr. Fox was my favorite.)
 
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Rob
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Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down by Richard Adams

laugh
 
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The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
or
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

my 1db 1db
 
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Gary Heidenreich
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I LOVED James and the Giant Peach when our librarian in grade school read that to us. I was in 4th grade at that time.
 
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Scott Russell
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People, wake up, this is BGG!

The humurous rulebook to a game. I recommend Kings & Things* or something simlar. meeple

Failing that, twenty minutes is an odd time for 10 year olds. Maybe a couple humorous short stories if you want to complete something. If going for the hook them in and make them want to read more later, Ender's Game is an excellent recommendation. Some of the Star Wars literature might do it as well. The Michigan/American Chillers series have some good hooks also.
 
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I remember liking the book "Sideways Stories from Wayside School." If I remember correctly the book is a bunch of short stories about different children in the school. It would probably fit your time limit quite nicely, and you could pick out your favorite chapters.

Forgot to include the Amazon link for you...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0380731487/sr=8-1/qid=11437...
 
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Ed Holzman
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Hmmm...I think I would be leery about reading "Ender's Game" in a public school setting. Don't get me wrong, it is a good read but in this day and age of nauseating political correctness, you may find yourself faced with unahppy parents reacting to Little Johnny telling them how he heard about child soldiers learning how to kill at Battle School. You never know how some parents will react to anything even marginally controversial.

EDIT: Oh, yeah. Ignore all of Mr. Benston's recommendations (with the possible exception of Dickens) unless you want to incite the ire of the teacher and parents. These kids are definitely not old enough for Hunter S. "Loser" Thompson, a serial killer, or (obviously) Lolita.
 
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JessA
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thank you so much, a lot of good suggestions here, I could pick Lolita if I want to make sure I don't get asked back! laugh Or perhaps I should go with Reiner Knizia's life story.

I'm printing up this list and heading for the library. I'll let you know what I end up with...



 
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Chief Slovenly
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Hmmm... some of my special tags must not be functioning correctly...

...anyway, I thought of a few more:

Lord of the Flies

Native Son

A Clockwork Orange

Trainspotting

The Anarchist's Cookbook

Our Bodies, Ourselves

Das Kapital

The Stranger

So there.
 
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Ed Holzman
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As grey traces of dawn tinge the eastern sky, the three travellers, men of Willowdale, emerge from the forest's shadow. Fording the river, they turn south, journeying into the dark and forbidding lands of The Necromancer...
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bbenston wrote:
Hmmm... some of my special tags must not be functioning correctly...

...anyway, I thought of a few more:

Lord of the Flies

Native Son

A Clockwork Orange

Trainspotting

The Anarchist's Cookbook

Our Bodies, Ourselves

Das Kapital

The Stranger

So there.


Touche. My humor filter was turned off, I guess. Although Camus is a good suggestion if you wish to depress the kids.
 
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Chief Slovenly
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Stop me before I kill again...

Atlas Shrugged

The Turner Diaries

Fahrenheit 451

Silent Spring

Slaughterhouse Five

The Shining

The Story of O

The Handmaid's Tale

And, with apologies to the entire thread, I promise I'll stop my one-man field day. I amuse myself. Way too much.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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20 minutes? The backstory of any of these would take too much time just to explain what's going on.

You need to read either the first chapter of something (often fairly boring as settings are established) or some short story.
 
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Mark Haberman
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The Phantom Tollbooth
Anything by Roald Dahl
 
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Rachel Wolfe
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Yes, I think Roald Dahl's Switch Bitch would be a great introduction to hedonism and sexual manipulation for a class full of 9-year-olds. >wink<

Dahl wrote some pretty adult stuff! But I heartily second the motion for James and the Giant Peach. Far better than his Chocolate Factory books, IMHO.

I recently read A Wrinkle in Time again, it had been a good 20 years since the last time I read it -- and I'm sorry to say it came across as very dated. It doesn't stand up well next to the richly detailed worlds of Harry Potter or Lyra Belacqua. (Which reminds me: maybe Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials series would be good for this age group?)
 
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♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
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Holy crap, how did I miss this thread earlier?

You mustn't miss

THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH

because it's the best book ever written. All those hobnobs who voted for Ulysses obviously never read

THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH

because if they had, then that would have been their pick.

So, I would subtly recommend

THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH

as the perfect book to read to 4th graders.

 
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♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
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bbenston wrote:
(I think I remember loving Roald Dahl around fourth grade. I remember loving all his stories, but The Fantastic Mr. Fox was my favorite.)


Oh yeah, I read this one a lot when I was about that age. But it doesn't quite compare to

THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH
 
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Verkisto wrote:
Holy crap, how did I miss this thread earlier?

You mustn't miss

THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH

because it's the best book ever written. All those hobnobs who voted for Ulysses obviously never read

THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH

because if they had, then that would have been their pick.

So, I would subtly recommend

THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH

as the perfect book to read to 4th graders.



Told you.
 
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Scott Russell
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The Phantom Tollbooth is a good read, but our family is scarred from trying to help our literal daughter follow the story over a marking period.
 
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JessA
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Okay everyone, I knew I'd get a lot of great suggestions from all you literary folks.

I went with the Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Since I only have 20 minutes, this looked like a good fit.

But, I am keeping all the suggestions for summer reading for my own kids.

I guess I need to go buy the Phantom Tollbooth! I had heard of it, but the title never grabbed me to look at it. I will definitely get it for my fourth grade son, Isaac, I promise!! laugh

I have to be at the school Friday a.m. I'll give a report when I get back.

Thanks so much, everybody!
 
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Ed Holzman
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As grey traces of dawn tinge the eastern sky, the three travellers, men of Willowdale, emerge from the forest's shadow. Fording the river, they turn south, journeying into the dark and forbidding lands of The Necromancer...
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Putting together a summer reading list for a fourth grader? I would add these Lloyd Alexander titles (The Chronicles of Prydain):

The Book of Three
The Black Cauldron
The Castle of Llyr
Taran Wanderer
The High King
The Foundling and Other Tales from Prydain
(a kind of prequel)

The books in the series are meant to be read in order and are based in Welsh mythology. A fun way to learn some of the Welsh language to boot!
 
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Ed Bryan
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The Great Brain series! I love these books.

1. The Great Brain
2. More Adventures of the Great Brain
3. Me and My little Brain
4. The Great Brain at the Academy
5. The Great Brain Reforms
6. The Return of the Great Brain
7. The Great Brain Does it again!

My favorite is probably #4, but they are all great!


The author is John D. Fitzgerald.
 
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