Reading and Responding: Social Issues

Our final reading unit of the year is a focus on "social issues" in texts.  Because so many of our read alouds and shared texts this year were filled with social issues, this was a great unit to finish out the year . . . we had lots of fun thinking back to some of our favorite books and talking about what "issues" writers choose to put in books for intermediate students--and why they chose them!

Together, we came up with a list of issues found in children's books, and I added some additional ideas off a list I found.  It was interesting to hear students' ideas on WHY certain themes come up time and time again.  In a nutshell, the students all agreed that writers want kids to think about, read about, and talk about these important topics--and that by doing so, they might better be able to understand themselves and the people around them.  We've read a pretty lengthy list of books this year and keep track on a it was GREAT to be able to revisit the list and remember what we have read.  Check out this list of "social issues" we come up with together.

NOTE:  I shared "Fly Away Home" by Eve Bunting the day after we made this, so I added "homelessness" to the chart as well!

Today I read my class this book . . . if you haven't seen it, it's a really neat text with LOTS of neat things you could do.  It's set in the 1930's where a young girl is sent to work with her uncle in his bakery.  The entire text is written in letter format, and the illustrations are gorgeous--it's fun to see what students can notice in them.  

So . . . to see what my students were thinking, I asked them to write a summary (we are STILL struggling with this!) and to write a "statement of theme".  I am always intrigued to see what the students think BEFORE we discuss!

It was a great discussion about family . . . about keeping spirits up in tough times . . . about making your world a better place for others . . . and for doing whatever is necessary to make things work out.  If you haven't seen it--check it out!

Just a reminder that my first post of the book club on "The Differentiated Math Classroom" is coming up on Saturday!  I am SO excited to get the discussion going--there are more than 30 people who have signed on!  Get that book and highlighter ready!  I hope everyone had a great day . . . I am feeling the end-of-year stress for sure!

1 comment

  1. Love your bulletin board of social issues-your kids really nailed it on why authors write about these things!