Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Top Picks for Engaging Reading Materialsl for Middle School Age Students with Low Levels of English- Part 1

After a long hiatus while I had a child (he is 6 and a half years old now!), settled into teaching (this time in China) I'm back on the blogging scene!

Part one of a Multi- Post Series of Articles:

Engaging Reading Materials for Middle School Age Students with Low Levels of English

This post is a cumulative review of the best sources of reading materials for middle school age students  (Grade 6 to 8) with low levels of English that I have found over the last 10 years of teaching in Chile and China.

Evaluation criteria

  1. Engaging Stories - stories that have proven to be interesting to boys and girls of this age (age 10 to 14)
  2. Language Appropriate - for those with an ability that falls in the range on the CEFR scale of high A1 to A2 level students  (info on CEFR- Common European Framework for Reference for Languages at https://www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-framework-reference-language; or look at Shannon Kennedy's simplified explanation here ); or, to look at it another way, language suitable for students with Lexile score of between 250 and 800 
  3. Well designed books in terms of being useful for teaching (vocabulary learning activities and guided reading questions at the beginning and end of chapters, activities for developing listening, speaking, writing, grammar competencies as well as building reading comprehension skills; inclusion of non-fiction author bios and articles on topics related to the story or historic era).
  4. Appealing illustrations -  appealing to Grade 6-8 students
  5. Not too long (appropriate length for different levels of learners, not full length novels)


High A1- Low A2

“The Red Circle” Sherlock Holmes -Graded Reader (Cideb- Blackcat); ISBN 978-88-530-09500

Poems byShel Silverstein(A Light in the Attic); ISBN 9780061905858

Creation mythsfrom around the world

o  Leeming, David Adams; Leeming, Margaret Adams (1994). Encyclopedia of Creation Myths (2nd ed.). ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-87436-739-3.
o  Leeming, David Adams; Leeming, Margaret Adams (2009). A Dictionary of Creation Myths (Oxford Reference Online ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-510275-8.
(Wikipedia has a good list based on these sources)
“StoryCentral 5” & 6 MacMillan Press -graphic novel style reader, student book, workbook, teacher book ; series ISBN 978-0-230-45198-8

High A2
    William Shakespeare: Scenes from the life of the World’s Greatest Writer by Mick Manning (Graphic novel) ISBN 978-184-780-7595

 “The Call of the Wild” Cideb- Blackcat Green Apple series Step 2)978-88-7754-859-7
King Arthur and his Knights” Cideb- Blackcat Green Apple series Step 2)
Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” Cideb- Blackcat Green Apple series Step 2)

Greek Myths
Jason and the Argonauts” (Cideb Blackcat Green Apple) (G6)
 “The Classics: Greek Myths Stories of Sun, Stone and Sea”) by Sally Pomme Clayton and Jane Ray (Grade 6 )  See also: Mr. Donn’s Myths – myths and legends told in casual, easy English (informal register) (Grade 6- 7)

Legends of the British Isles” Cideb- Blackcat Green Apple series Step 2) 978-88-530-0618-9

Robin Hood“ Cideb- Blackcat Green Apple series Step 2)

“BlackHeart” Cideb- Blackcat Green Apple series Step 2)

     Romeo and Juliet” (Grade 7+) Cideb- Blackcat Green Apple series Step 2)
      Macbeth”- (graphic novel style) (Grade 7-8) Cideb- Blackcat Drama series Step 2)

      High A2 Novels and Non-Fiction

Books by Michael Morpurgo:
The Island Tales
(includes“The Wreck of the Zanzibar” – short story; 
Why the Whales Came”  -novella) – lovely, MYP appropriate sketch illustrations in this particular book ISBN 978-1-4052-67-95-3 – **warning some of the covers for this book 
are too ‘little kiddish’ and lack illustrations; middle schoolers will turn up their noses at them)

Butterfly Lion” by Michael Morgurgo-short novel (125 pages);has detailed sketch illustrations amidst the text ISBN 9780006751038

Sci-Fi Story by Katerine Paterson-“The Last Dog” (Grade 7)  science fiction short story- has many scientific words but the plot is fairly easy to understand- free pdf workbook http://www.b-g.k12.ky.us/userfiles/1111/Classes/7276/Last%20Dog.pdf
that has nice illustrations and guided questions and vocabulary pull-outs

NON-FICTION RESOURCES-  A1- A2 (and higher +)

“The Rabbit Proof Fence” (High A2)by Doris Pilkington Garimara (Oxford Bookworms Graded Reader) ISBN 9780194791441

Dossiers in all of the Graded Readers (non-fiction background articles and author bios) 

Articles in Readtheory.org (Grade 1 + articles and so A1 +)

Articles with lessons- https://breakingnewsenglish.com (Level 1 and Level 2 articles, and so, A1+)

Achieve3000.com (paid subscription- has differentiated articles -Lexile 250-940; and so, suitable for A2+)

More Related to this Topic

Graded Reader Publisher Lists (by target age group, by genre) and Comparisons- fabulous compilations of by Rob Waring (there are a number of Teen and Adult series of graded readers)

** a local Guangzhou distributer of Cideb-Blackcat Readers is 4kidsbooks DOTorg, in Guangzhou, China

Stay Tuned for an upcoming post on Reading Resources that have proven to engage B1 - C2 level learners (Intermedite, high intermediate to 'bridge" level, near native English speaker level students in Middle School)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Want to make a suggestion? Give your feedback? Add them here!