Thursday, March 5, 2009

Book Discussion Groups

OMW! Each group has read and discussed two books so far. It has been crazy trying to keep up and, like the students, when I have to do something it takes me a lot longer! Here are some updates:

6th Grade


Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson - overall the students loved it and thought it was the best book they've ever read. Some of the students thought Isabel should have been happy being a slave because "that was her place". So we had a big discussion about what they meant by that. Very eye-opening for me.

Wizard Heir

Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima - most of the group loved this one and two students immediately checked out Dragon Heir because they wanted the rest of the story. The group was mixed on whether you could read these books separately or if you needed to read book one to get the full idea of what was going on. Two students didn't like the book - one because she "doesn't like fantasy". We decided to define what we meant by "fantasy" and ran out of time. We are having an extra meeting to continue our discussion.

Next meeting: Counter Clockwise by Jason Cockcroft

7th Grade


Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Boys and girls raved over this one. The gentlemen were skeptical because of the soft colors in the cover. But every person loved this one (20 students!). They argued over whether Katsa and Po should have gotten married, though! They all had great reasons for their position and I pointed them to the website and to their parents! With more time I would have taken a poll on family backgrounds! Not really, J/K!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


No love for this one except for a handful of the students. They didn't get it. These are students who also didn't love the Martian Chronicles. I was hoping to turn them around with this choice but it backfired. They requested something totally different for their next book. Cie la vie!

Next meeting: Epic by Conor Kostick

8th Grade

Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The conversation was fast and furious and went from beginning of the book, to end, to middle and back again. We discussed how the hits just kept coming for Todd but you couldn't stop reading because you just kept believing the hope was coming. They were outrage over the dog and the end. We were left wondering how in the heck did the Mayor do what he did? And the most important question of all - When is the sequel coming out!?!? Check out next week's Waiting on Wednesday for the answer!!

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd


It was close to being unanimous - they loved this book. I had one student say it was too slow and she could not get into it. The rest wanted to know if we could watch the movie. We talked about why no one stepped in and rescued Lily. Why it was hard to remember her name - was it the author's way of making it easier more realistic because you could substitute for anyone? We talked about which of the Month sisters we associated with and if we would have had the guts to do what May did. Great discussion.

Next meeting: Separate Peace by John Knowles

I'll be back next month with more news from the groups.


  1. Aren't book groups just the coolest things? I run a monthly YA one at the Borders where I work, and I love every minute of it!

    Your students sound like they make some really good points about the chosen book. Brilliant!

  2. You can't leave it at they thought she should have been happy. Why did they feel that way? Did other students disagree and say why? And if you don't mind me asking, how did that feel when they said it? Feel free to send a private message. For what it is worth, my each of my daughters have expressed feelings or thoughts completely alien to how I feel. Thanks.

  3. I can understand 7th graders not getting into Bradbury. It's hard for me to know what is grade appropriate though since most kids I deal with are non and reluctant readers. I'm always impressed with how much and what average readers get through.


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