Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Stories are told from the vantage point of the storyteller. With middle schoolers’ increased metacogntitive skills, they are able to think more consciously about how different characters’ points of view affect the way the story unfolds.
- I'm Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears & Other Intriguing Idioms by Jag Ball: Use this book to help your child recognize how different cultures can see the world in different ways.
- Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer: Beautiful illustrations and a collection of reversible verse make this book not only a fun read, but also a clever way to support thinking skills. See if your child can find the changes in punctuation and word position that change the meaning when you read the poem’s lines in reverse. For those gifted with words, try making your own reversible verse!
- Emma Kate by Patricia Polacco is the story of a friendship between an elephant and a girl. But who is real and who is the imaginary mate? Ask for your child’s evidence (and inferences) along the way. Check out the fun, unexpected ending! Reread the book with your new understanding and see how it changes how you interpret the clues.
- Witness by Karen Hesse: This intense and, at times, disturbing book offers 11 different narrators and their unique voices about the infiltration of the KKK into a small Vermont town in the early 1900’s.
- That’s Good! That’s Bad! By Margery Cuyler: Support the development of dual understanding and multiple perspectives to foster both cognitive and creative thinking! This is a fun story where things can be both good and bad at the same time. Have your child think of his own good/bad events! See if you can push him beyond the literal to more abstract ways of thinking (it’s good I didn’t get a part in the play because it let me learn how to be resilient vs. I didn’t really want one anyway, or that it gave me more time to do homework).
- Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne is a great book to focus on point-of-view and author voice.
- The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, Princess Florecita and the Iron Shoes by John Warren Stewig, Sister’s Grimm series by Michael Buckley, or Ivy and the Meanstalk by Dawn Lairamore: Fractured Fairy tales are a great way to draw on schema (background knowledge), inferences, and a break in expectation. Go further with fractured fairy tales with Jon Scieszka.
- Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos and Mr. Revere and I: Being an Account of certain Episodes in the Career of Paul Revere, Esq. as Revealed by his Horse by Robert Lawson: History retold from a unique point of view.
- And Here’s to You by David Elliott: Rhyming playful text to allow you to talk about diversity and tolerance. Discuss the character’s voice and perspective. How might a character who disliked cats or bug convey this story? What about someone who is not sure how he feels about certain creatures? Can your child “become” this character and convey this ambivalence in his word choice and “voice”?
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