February What are you Reading Linky

For those of you who follow this lil' blog, you know I teach a special needs population.  This year, my students' reading levels range from first grade to sixth grade.  Yikes. A pretty large span.

Because of my students' learning and behavioral struggles, reading is a daunting task.  Many of their disabilities prevent them from experiencing the wonders of a great book.  

Leaving for winter break, I was determined to find a solution.  I wanted my students to experience the joys of literature...the fun that comes along with tracking plot structure, analyzing themes, discussing how characters can grow and change, etc...

Enter, The Hunger Games.

I ordered a class set of books through Scholastic, along with the audio CD.  I didn't want my students stressing over reading this book themselves.  I simply wanted them to relax and enjoy the captivating story. 

Well, let me tell you, it was the best decision I made all year.  The kids are LOVING the book and ask all the time for us to listen.

To get the kids pumped for the novel, I had our door decorated and The Hunger Games soundtrack playing when they arrived to class.

We also watched the trailer to give a little visual background of the story.

Tracking Plot Structure

I found these fun plot structure labels from The Primary Girl.  As we progress through the story, the kiddos move the main characters across the plot structure diagram.  This is an excellent visual to help my students grasp the idea of plot.

Making Connections and Comparing and Contrasting using Different forms of Media
I love that The Hunger Games movie so closely depicts the novel and that we are able to use the movie as an extra resource for making connections.  We discuss the similarities and differences between the book and movie and the reasoning behind the differences (i.e., how the movie needs to show character thought differently than the book).

Rather then waiting until the end of the book to watch the movie, we watch a little bit at a time.  I find this keeps the kiddos really engaged and motivated to continue reading.  They love seeing the story come to life.

Tracking Themes and Citing Textual Evidence
To assess that my students are comprehending and tracking themes properly throughout the novel, I have them jot down one or two examples of themes throughout the book/movie as an exit ticket each day after class. I love how simple, yet effective these interactive theme charts are.

To check out what others are reading in their upper elementary classrooms, click on the Focused on Fifth button below!


  1. I love the Hunger Games and so wish I could be in your class! I can just imaging the looks on your students faces as they saw the door and heard the music. What an amazing idea to get them pumped to read. I love that you are watching the movie a little bit at a time. Its quite a motivation to read.


  2. Wow! I love The Hunger Games too! Your door is AMAZING! What a great idea to watch a bit of the movie at a time to keep them engaged and motivated.


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