Wednesday, 20 August 2014

6th Class Novels Review - Which to choose?

This is a topic of discussion I find frequently comes up amongst Senior Teachers.   There are so many novels out there that its difficult to know which ones are most appropriate and which will capture the interest of the class.
Here I'm going to give a quick run down of four novels I used as a 6th class teacher last year.  

Some teachers take a novel a term.  However,  I found that giving a novel a four to five week timeframe was more realistic (particularly if you are just using novels as your reading programme with the class). If any other 6th class teachers have further recommendations for novels I would be delighted to hear them! Just leave a comment below! 

Book 1: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

This was such a hit with the class! A fabulous book which deals with grief, friendship, family and adventure.  I would highly recommend this book.   A nice length, some lovely characters and themes to be explored.  More suited to 6th class. There are also some fantastic online resources to support the children's study of the book. 
Just a caution!  The book may not be suitable if a child in the class has suffered a recent bereavement.  

Book 2: The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

A challenging and gripping read.  Give this novel a bit more time as it is quite lengthy.  This book would be more suited to a capable and confident sixth class. 
Being very rich in detail, this classic has fantastic opportunities for vocabulary development.   Also, a chance for children and particularly the girls in the class to explore the fantasy genre.  A big hit with the boys! 

Book 3: Holes by Louis Sachar  (WHAT A HIT!!)

This book was by FAR the biggest bit in the class.  The children loved it and couldn't get enough of it!  With some charming characters, a great plot and easy to read, I can guarantee this book will go down a storm!  This would be suitable in a 5th or 6th class.   There are also so many fantastic resources out there to use with the book.  I will link some in a future post. 

Book 4: Hagwitch by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

I was delighted to have had the opportunity to read a book by an irish author in class last year.  The children also really enjoyed this book.  The magic, mystery and unique storyline will retain the interest of the children throughout.  This would be more suited to a capable sixth class.   The only downfall of the book is the lack of resources available to support study of the novel, so you may have to do a bit of extra planning with this one! 

Its also worth baring in mind that your local county library may have class sets of books available to loan.  Last year I was very fortunate to have the support of Celbridge Library and their librarian Aisling who was always on hand to help us source interesting books for the children.
You could stand to save your school a fortune if you're lucky enough to have this service available to you.  Definitely worth looking into!