I think I have found my first read aloud...through the influence and power of Twitter! I watch for recommended titles from the many educators I follow. This summer I ordered three great young adult books because I kept seeing the titles pop up again and again and again. I read Wonder by RJ Palacio. I won't read it to my third graders but it helped me think deeply about how to inspire students to choose kindness. I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I have never cried harder through a book. I think because I read it through the eyes of a mother and it made me think about life. This is for middle school students but I am so glad to have read it. Finally, I read The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I think my third graders will love it. More importantly I think it will get them talking, wondering, feeling, inferring, in other words...thinking deeply about text. I'm choosing this as an anchor text to show the importance of book partnerships or book clubs understanding making meaning through talk. Every ending chapter or section sentence made me want to grab someone and talk about my thinking. I'm hoping these section endings make my students want to pause, talk, listen to one another, learn from one another and understand. My goal through this read aloud will be setting the stage for the importance of talk while using the text as an anchor to return to. I think boys will like the book as much as girls. I think students will find character empathy as they explore Ivan's setting and his relationships. A theme I didn't expect to find was the idea of a fixed mindset vs a growth mind set. An important event changes Ivan's belief about his destiny. This is an important beginning of the year theme. This book was also based on a true story about a gorilla who lived in a shopping mall. Maybe we will squeeze in some non fiction articles to deepen our understanding:) What will your first read aloud be???