Even though this is my first year teaching with Reader’s Workshop, my sixth grade students have gotten very excited about reading. I, too, read voraciously. They share books with me and with each other, and I share books with them. So to coincide with March Madness, although I’m starting rather later, I decided to have a novel tournament in my class.
Today, in teams, the students brainstormed the top sixteen novels. These could be old or current favorites. We compiled the team lists into one list. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be holding debates and voting on pairs of books until we have crowned the top novel of the year.
Here are their top sixteen, in no order:
Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Hex Hall by Rachel Hopkins
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Holes by Louis Sachar
Cinder by Marissa Meyers
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale
I am impressed by the diversity of titles. The students made an effort to represent their favorite series without overwhelming the list with multiple titles. So although they have both Hunger Games and its sequel, they only have one 39 Clues book (Maze of Bones), one Pendragon book (Merchant of Death), and one Harry Potter book. Two books that we read together in class are included, Al Capone Does My Shirts and Number the Stars, as well as books I discovered and recommended, like Cinder, and books that are new to me like Unwanteds and Wednesday Wars.
I know they had a limited time to come up with titles, but there are some missing that I know they love, like the Narnia series and The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Stewart. Overall, though, I think they did a good job.
Two students have been assigned to each book and are preparing their best persuasive arguments. They will know which book is competing against theirs and will also prepare some rebuttals to what they think the others will say against their books.
So LET THE DEBATES BEGIN!