UD Literature Review Prompts Reading List Renewal

 

 

This summer, the Upper Division English Department engaged in a comprehensive review of the literature students read in grades 4-8. Led by Upper Division Director Katie Rocker, the DEIL (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership) team, and Librarian Angela Perna, the teachers had a clear goal: to collaboratively devise a list of well-written books that are "classics" (new and old) and that capture the breadth and depth of the human experience.


Members of the group read more than 60 books in just a few months, and discussions via Zoom, Google Meet, email, and telephone resulted in the group’s selections—some that were already part of the curriculum and other new additions—that reflect diverse experiences in the United States and throughout the world.

“We wanted to honor the need for all children to see themselves as heroes,” said Seventh and Eighth Grade English Teacher Anne Rabbino.

The project was inspired, in part, by DEIL's Curriculum Self-Audit, a tool that guides teachers in critically examining and evaluating their teaching practices and curricula.

“The ultimate list reflects the English department's love of literature and our shared belief in the power of reading to uplift and transform readers of all ages,” said Ms. Rabbino. “These books are the basis for the goals of our instruction: close reading and careful writing.”

The titles for each grade are as follows:

Fourth Grade
Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye (Read-Aloud)
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Fifth Grade
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
The Hero Next Door (short stories)
D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths by Ingri D'Aulaire and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire
Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes (using as mentor text)
The Giver by Lois Lowry

Sixth Grade
Inside Out & Back Again by Thannhha Lai
Watsons Go to Birmingham—by Christopher Paul Curtis
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
Two Roads by Joseph Bruchac

Seventh Grade
Flying Lessons and Other Stories
Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Eighth Grade
Short Story Unit (vol I), including instruction from Impact 50*
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton