After having a wonderful conversation with a few parents last night, I thought I would put down some thoughts to share.
I think we in education, often forget that we have been given amazing gifts in our collegial studies and in the classroom that many parents would love to have. Personally, this past week with sixty-two family members in town for a celebration, many with whom I ever see, asked many questions on the “Academic Chart” on the refrigerator and how did I know just what Nathaniel and Claire needed to work on at ages 6 and 9? How did Unlock the Teacher come up with the ideas for our academic eBooks, why those given topics? Can I send them drafts of our first in the series of books being written with Dr. Lick (Director of Family Medicine at Beaumont Hospital) and Dr. Letscher (UDM Professor) and what languages are we planning on publishing them in? Does phonics need special attention with young school children etc.
Interestingly enough, these are similar questions I found when conducting the Needs Assessment for our Unlock the Teacher book. Many of the parents in our focus groups had similar questions…a thirst if I may, for knowledge that would allow them to better help their children, identify their child’s learning styles and begin to provide them tools for life-long learning. Parents who wanted to become planters of knowledge seeds.
So this week, on the sidelines of the freshman football field, I have had similar conversations as the ones mentioned, but on the topic of books. If you are a parent or teacher of boys who reads often, then hopefully these book recommendations will help. (Example: my 9-year-old son reads approximately 30 minutes when he wakes and an hour before bed and sometimes for a time during the day to calm his spirit. He reads through 2-3 300-400 page books a week. This has been his pattern of behavior since the beginning of 3rd grade and lasted through the school year and has increased this summer.) Talking to various parents, this is common for a few boys and parents are desperately seeking reading material that will engage their avid readers minds, without filling it with inappropriate images. This can be tricky, when you have 8-10 year olds reading at a grade 9 and above, where many book written for that given age has some sort of sexual undertones. A subject undertone that I would rather my 9-year-old not to read about yet.
Given all this, and the wonderful dialogue I had with these parents and seeking out additional recommendations from some of my teacher colleagues, here is a brief list of recommended books sans inappropriate material:
The Rangers Apprentice Series Books 1-10 by John Flannagan (Note: A great website for young boys with free games etc.)
The Percy Jackson Series and Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Note: A great website for Narnia games online.)
The Youngest Templar Books 1-3 by Michael P. Spradlin
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (My son loved this, a great mystery.)
The 39 Clues Series by Rick Riordan (Note: Great free online games at this site.)
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (Note: Fun website!)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
No Talking by Andrew Clements
Tom Sawyer Companion Library by Samuel Clemens (Note: Many teachable moments when reading this with child.)
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Hardy Boys Series by Franklin w. Dixon
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
These books are well written and sure to engage the avid reader (boy or girl really). I have read all these books before my son, so we could discuss and I could utilize them to further his learning. However, I also had available many if not most of these books in my classroom over the years as well. I hope this helps, and these books are found to engage and activate the imagination for your young reader.
I would love to hear your suggestions and post them here on our blog…knowledge is meant to be shared no hoarded!
May we seek knowledge in all things,