Welcome to What We’re Reading, a blog series where we talk about the books Hampton Lutheran School teachers are reading out loud in their classrooms. Our first blog in the series features Mrs. Carnoali’s fifth and sixth grade classroom.
What are you reading right now?
Fifth and sixth grade is reading The Man Who Loved Clowns by June Rae Wood. That’s been a class favorite for years! Thirteen-year-old Delrita wants to hide from the world. She loves her Uncle Punky, who has Down syndrome, but sometimes feels ashamed about his behavior. A tragedy teaches Delrita an important lesson about friendship, love, and family.
I enjoy reading The Man Who Loved Clowns with my students because I think that it is important to understand the differences in people, that each person has value, and that God creates each person for a purpose.
The kids over the years have loved The Man Who Loved Clowns. They ask for it every year—some classes have heard it in fifth grade and again in sixth grade. The students can relate to the problems the main character has: Delrita is a typical middle schooler caught between her love for her Uncle Punky and her desire to fit in with the other kids at her school.
What else have you read to fifth and sixth grade recently?
This year, we also read Straw into Gold by Gary D. Schmidt, which is a Rumpelstiltskin tale spun out into a full-length novel. Straw into Gold is just a good who-done-it mystery taken from the fairy tale. For some kids, this is their first exposure to the original story.
Earlier in the school year, the whole school read The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. In the book’s futuristic society, a robot is marooned on an island. Roz the robot does not know why she is on the island or where she came from, but she has to figure out how to survive. Third through sixth grades also read the sequel, The Wild Robot Escapes. These books are just plain fun and very imaginative! They also teach the kids what it’s like to adapt to strange circumstances. They, too, teach the value of each life.
How do you choose the books you read out loud?
All three of these books were by Plum Creek Literacy Festival authors. A lot of my out-loud books tend to come from Plum Creek—after the kids meet the author at Plum Creek in the fall, they have a connection to the author, which makes reading their books even more meaningful.
One of my favorite things to do is to find the most exciting spot to stop reading for the day and wait for the kids’ reactions! The whole purpose of reading out loud is to model reading and give kids a love of books and literature.