This year, our schedule allows me to do read aloud everyday for at least 20 minutes, which has been amazing! I was really unsure about what book to choose as my first read aloud for my fifth grade class. In the past I used to do a lot of different fun, beginning of the school year type of picture books. After asking many different teachers and doing some research online, I decided to stick with my initial gut feeling about this book I had just read before school started.
This was a book that was causing a lot of buzz among teachers and students. I read a few different reviews on teacher blogs about it. It is a newly published book, by a new author, R.J. Palacio. It’s called Wonder and it’s about a boy August, who is born with severe facial deformities. He has been home schooled by his mom up until 5th grade, when his parents decide to enroll him into a private middle school. As soon as I started reading this book, I fell in love with August and was intrigued by the story. I love that the author also changes perspectives by telling it from different characters point of view.
The one reason that I was really hesitant about using this book for my fifth graders was that it was a longer book, about 300 pages. Even though the chapters are very short (a few pages, not too much text on a page), I was worried that it would take too long to get through. However, we are currently on week three, and at the halfway point. My students are always telling me that read aloud is their favorite time of the day! So many of my kids are loving this story, I’m so glad I chose it.
One of the core values of our school is compassion, and I’m hoping that we can really discuss in more detail what compassion is and looks like by using this book as a jumping ground. So whether you are an elementary teacher or not, I highly recommend you read this book. If you are a 5th grade teacher, make sure you get a copy for your library.
During the read aloud, I have students sometimes write post-it notes on different characters and what they are thinking. Here are a few of them.