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Year 7 class reader - help!

Discussion in 'English' started by michellesterry, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    We have managed to grab enough money in our department to buy a new set of class readers (very lucky!). We want to get something for our Year 7's as all the local primary schools seems to be doing Skellig now and we don't want to repeat it for the majority.

    At the moment, we currently read Room 13 (Swindells) and Millions (Cottrell Boyce).

    Does anyone read anything else which the kids enjoy? Any suggestions would be very greatfully recieved - especially if they came with a line or two about the book! (sorry if that's a bit cheeky!)
    I think our HOD would quite like something reasonably new, and she is a firm believer in the power of a good story line - other than that, we are open to anything suitable!

    Thank you!
  2. We've read Holes with our year sevens for a few years now and it's always gone down quite well.
    It's an American novel which opens with a young boy being sent to a prison camp where he and other crimal teenagers are asked to dig holes by the intimidating warden because it helps to 'build character'.However, as the novel progresses, it becomes apparent that the warden has hidden motives for asking the boys to dig these holes...
    It's a really good novel that explores themes of the past's effect on the present; friendship; and fate.
    One slight caveat: we teach in an all boys' comprehensive school, but I see no reason why a mixed sex class wouldn't enjoy it just as much.
  3. marlin

    marlin Star commenter Forum guide

    Holes is now being used by some primary schools - there was a heated debate about this in the primary forum recently!
    Before spending a lot of money and time making resources, it might be worth a check with your main feeder schools to see what texts they are using. It would be a shame if you found the children had already studied the book you choose to buy. It might be too late now for liaison meetings, but if you still have your transition day coming up then this could be an opportunity to ask the children.
  4. That's the problem we are having! Every one we think of, the primaries in our area seem to be creeping towards!

    I'm a little surprised about Holes moving into primary schools (will have to search out that thread!), we currently teach that in year 8.

    Which is why I'm thinking that something quite new would be a good idea? Any ideas which are a little more outside the box...
  5. marlin

    marlin Star commenter Forum guide

    It's here (lights the blue torch paper and retires ........ [​IMG] I'm saying no more!)
  6. What about Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Nazi moves his whole family nearer to the concetration camp that he works at, his son befriends a jewish boy through the camp fence. Really powerful plot and our kids love it and there is a film. There is so much stuff you can do that is cross curricular for WW2 and racism etc.
    War Horse by Michael Morpurgo is a good one. Set in rural England a farmer buys a horse that his son trains up. Horse gets sent to WW1-boy follows as to try to rescue the horse. Steven Speilberg is realising the film later this year and the play is still running in London so that might be a nice idea. MM is a really modern popular writer.
    Both ideal for both sexes as well. An author I would recommend for that age is Mary Hooper, get on amazon and have a look as she has loads of stuff set in Plague times in London with really good descriptions. The case of the Sugared Plum or something like that is a really good one.
    Why not ask the kids that you teach now what kind of stuff they read now to try and get an idea. A lot of schools do Roald Dahl but I think it's a little babyish once they get to High school. as for Holes, it all comes down to personal tatse but i think it has had its day and I find it totally boring, I bloody hate teaching it and I think it confuses lower ability kids with all the flashbacks, sub-plots and the too many characters.
    Hope this helps.
  7. manc

    manc New commenter

    Agree about 'Holes' - bit too clever, clever for its own good. I find the characters poorly drawn and one-dimensional, and the story immensely boring.
    Midnight Fox - Betsy Byars
    Ghost of Thomas Kempe???
  8. We currently have Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in year 8 - but I suppose it could be moved down...

    The biggest problem I feel we have, is that literacy levels of our incoming year 6's seem to be dipping year on year, but having said that, I agree that Roald Dahl is too young for secondary. (I also agree that Holes is massively confusing for lower ability to read in whole - pardon the pun - I wonder how they get round this problem in primary schools that teach it?)

    I had a quick google - have you taught this one? I really like the sound of it... but I'm wondering how it goes down with the boys?

    Personally, I'd love a bit more Morpurgo, but I think the HoD is a little wary as we already do Private Peaceful in year 9 and a lot of the kids will read MM by their own choice - the logic being that we should try to introduce other things they wouldn't necessarily select for themselves, but will still enjoy...
  9. How about 'A Bottled Cherry Angel' by (I think) Jean Ure. It's not 'new' but it is good, and very clever. It's a good one for developing inference skills.
  10. Just checked and it's out of print, which is a shame. Another suggestion is Krindlekrax by Philip Ridley. This is not a hugely testing read, but great for character work and drama, has some atmospheric writing and a narrative that jumps about and it's unlikely they'll have done it before. A cracking mystery story too, it's one where they will really be wanting to know what happens next.
  11. annie2010

    annie2010 Occasional commenter

    A novel that myYear 7s have enjoyed is 'Cirque Du Freak', by Darren Shan.
    It appeals to boys and girls. Each chapter ends on a cliffhanger- useful when planning various novel based activities.
    Also, it's about vampires-which I'm told are 'in' at the moment.
    There are sequels, so the students can be encouraged to borrow them from the library.
  12. Hi, If you decided to move Boy in Stripes down to your year 7s, why not try Stone Cold by Robert Swindells for your year 8s. I've done it with low ability 9s and they loved it. It's an interesting novel about homelessness, there's a video available in sections on youtube and lots of free resources. :) xx
  13. Natalie Babbit's 'Tuck Everlasting' or 'Bridge to Terabithia' by Katherine Patterson...or 'Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth and Me' by E.L. Konigsburg...or 'Solitary Blue' by Cynthia Voigt.
    *I teach in an all girls' school, though, so I only know they all go down well with girls!*
  14. I haven't taught it personally my son has read it (he is Y7) and he liked it but we do teach Newes of the Dead by MH to Y9 though.
  15. sweetie1

    sweetie1 New commenter

    Coraline by Neil Gaiman is a popular book with Year 7. Gets them thinking about being grateful for what they've got. It's quite a spooky story and students of all abilities engage at different levels. The film's not a bad take on it either. The extra character gives room for discussion about artistic licence etc.

  16. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    I hate Morpurgo.
    'Boy in Striped PJs' is often done in primary. Yes - I know.
    I have a very limited Yr 7 (one lad can't actually be awarded a level) and I've had great success with 'Two Weeks with the Queen' with both them and higher ability sets. As a bonus, 'Teachit' has a very good SoW to go with. As it has an open ending, the outcome is to write chapter 16.
    Which reminds me, I must construct a frame for next week.

  17. What about Fire, Bed and Bone by Henrietta Branford. It's not a very long book but my year 7 class loved it when we read it.
  18. `Old school texts - the Otterbury incident by C Day Lewis. My Y7 class have loved it this year (as they did the year before too) we've just finished it and they are eagerly producing project work for an american 'science fair' style display for all staff to admire tomorrow!
  19. manc

    manc New commenter

    I've done that too and kids love it - they don't care that it's dated. To them it's an interesting historical curiosity, and a great story (which is all that counts in the end).

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