Middle school is the transitional period between elementary school and high school where a child is just beginning to understand what being a teenager is all about. At some schools, they call these years junior high, but for many districts, it is known as middle school. Sometimes it consists of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. Other times, it is only seventh and eighth. Whatever the case, these are often tough years to navigate. Because of this, here are five novels that should be in every middle school classroom for the sake of adults and children.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
This novel is, unfortunately, very relatable to most young people nowadays who have seemingly experienced loss around every corner. Bridge to Terabithia is about a fifth-grade student named Jesse and how he develops a friendship with his new next-door neighbor Leslie. Together they create a world just for them out in the woods close to their homes. However, life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. The film version of Bridge to Terabithia came out in 2007 and would be perfect for the students to watch and do a bit of compare and contrast with the novel. Plus, the movie is just as great as the book.
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
Middle school is awfully tough to navigate for all students. There are constantly changing relationships between kids and their peers. Plus, how kids get along with their parents during this time is a bit of a bumpy time as well. Goodbye Stranger recognizes this and delves into issues that middle school students are constantly facing nowadays. Be sure to read it first, though, as there are a few controversial issues that you should know about before the kids start checking this book out from your classroom library.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Very few middle school students are brave enough to want to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Stargirl was one of these students and she stood out in a good way. However, not all students appreciated her and it was not long before the student body turned on her. It is highly likely that there are a handful of students in every classroom that will be able to identify with Stargirl and how she feels during these years.
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Ally is a girl that moves around quite a bit so she is used to having to attend new schools quite often. Still, there is a secret that she keeps from everyone by disruptive behavior in the classroom. Ally is petrified that others will find out that she can’t read. The title of the novel “Fish in a Tree” relates to how everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Ally has a few amazing talents, but she does struggle mightily with reading. Fish our born to swim, but up in a tree, they are pretty much useless. Middle school students will easily be able to identify with Ally and the struggles she encounters.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Time to lighten up the mood a bit! You may mistakenly believe Diary of a Wimpy Kid is created for younger students as the novel is composed of simple comic strips. However, Greg Heffley is a middle school student that is experiencing everything that we all did at that age. But reading about how he goes through it is much funnier than reliving our own history with a therapist. The whole Diary of a Wimpy Kid book set should be in all middle schools across the globe as both kids and adults will get a kick out of them.
If you aren’t sure about how you should present literacy in your classroom, iAchieve could be of assistance. We offer numerous professional development workshops, including literacy in the classroom, that might just interest you!