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Suggested Reading List

Mrs. G.

New Member
Our upper grades (6-12) are trying to enforce a suggested reading list in which only books listed may be used for teaching in each grade. That means that 5th grade teachers couldn't use any books listed in the 6th - 12th grade list. I am looking for research-based info that shows it's good for students to read novels more than once and that learning will be even better at the upper levels if a child has already read a book. Knowledge gained over the years will lead to better and different understanding of literature. We all know it's a good practice to reread books at the beginning and emergent level, but I need proof it's also beneficial at the fluent level.


Senior Member
we struggle with this pet peeve a lot!

In our school system there exists a reading list of "protected" novels that may only be taught by the grade to which it is assigned. But the elementary teachers don't respect the list and are constantly teaching the kids our 6th grade novels. I agree that reading a novel more than once is a good thing, but I don't think being taught the same novel 2 years in a row is beneficial. Kids already know plot points. There is no opportunity to predict. A lot of kids don't take it seriously the 2nd time around and are behavior problems or ruin it for others who haven't been taught most of the finer points.

I taught Lion, Witch, Wardrobe even though I knew that 2-3 kids had purchased the book and read it a few months earlier. However, they hadn't been taught all the finer points and they still got a lot out of our class experience. If their 5th grade teacher had made sure that each page was read (I used a CD of the novel for several of the chapters), all the unknown vocabulary defined, characters sketched, dioramas of the setting were created, and etc., etc., etc., what more can I bring to the novel? Even though LWW is on the 6th grade protected list, I know that an elementary school read it this past semester and took the kids to the movie as a field trip. This field trip violated county policy too because the movie isn't rated G. But I guess rules don't apply to the elementary school teachers.

I think there are enough novels out there that you can choose from without violating the protected list. Getting permission to teach a novel in class is challenging for us. If it's on our list, the teachers in the elementary school should respect it and teach from their own list.

If a child chooses to reread a novel in a later grade I'm sure he'd get a lot out of it. If a child is taught the same novel back-to-back, he has an opportunity to get a lot out of it, but an attitude of "been there done that" would likely prevent it, at least for a big chunk of the class.

I probably wouldn't be able to articulate my opinion so well if we haven't sacrificed countless minutes of faculty meetings on this topic!!!


Full Member
What about student choice

In our state thousands of teachers are going through a masters class called Smart Step Literacy Lab. We focus a lot on Reading and Writing workshops, but one of the big aspects is filling your room with books and giving students access and choice.

I only teach 1 novel as a class, it doesn't make sense to me to teach every child in class a novel that is not on everyone's level, is not a book they would choose or find interesting, etc. I know we all should read books we would not normally choose on our own and be open to new genres and experiences.
That is why my students must complete a genre bingo or some other genre requirement.
I use Literature Circles several days a week and students must also read 6 books a nine weeks on their own.
I have a meeting in 2 weeks about this same subject. I teach 6th grade reading and know sometimes students have read a book in another grade, so either they read the book and get a different perspective or point of veiw from classmates and me, or they are in a group with a different book.
It seems frustrating to me that because someone has created a great lesson on a book in another grade that children who want to read the book before that can be told no.
I guide and steer my children to certain books and encourage them to read within their level, but it is okay to read a lower level book occassionally just as it is okay to read a higher level book occassionally.
The main idea here is that students should have choice in their readings and love to read! No one should tell another teacher that they cannot teach a book that they love and will benefit their children. Some books are classics and students should have access to them, however so many great books come out each year that teachers should be constantly changing their book units to come up with good books that will benefit, encourage and excite their students.:)
I also believe re-reading a book can be beneficial to students. Several teachers did a unit on Esperanza Rising after it won awards, but honestly 6-8 grade would probably be the best grades to read the book because of the length, the aspects that may be over the heads of younger children etc. So if students read the book in younger grades I will focus on many aspects they probably did not understand in earlier years. Besides if parents and kids research anything about a book they are going to read they can find the same information many teachers are using.