This is a course plan designed for a 7th grade classroom. I used the following books for the course: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Giver by Lois Lowry.
Before I began any actual reading of texts in my classroom, I would want to be sure to teach multiple reading strategies to my students. I want to do some reading exercises in the beginning of the year to properly gauge my students' reading levels. Once I have a good idea of the range of levels, I would introduce the first text. I picked Stargirl as my first novel because it is a kind of book students in middle school can relate to. Along with relating to the text, it is also more of a fun read. Students will be more engaged in their reading if it is something they actually enjoy.
After Stargirl is complete, I want to be able to stress to my students the difference in genres. By introducing novels, poems, and short stories, I want them to be able to describe the difference. This will also be an introduction to the idea of autobiographies and biographies, which they will be reading for their presentation in class for their research project.
The next novel I chose was a bit more serious and deals with more complex real life issues. In To Kill A Mockingbird, I would want my students to be able to relate real life situations in the novel. Even though the plot takes place awhile ago, I still want them to be able to talk about how it applies in today's society.
The next big step would be to teach them how to properly research for a project. By picking a famous person, I would want them to look online for accurate sources and use the library to read up on a famous person of their choice. I simply would want them to practice research skills and be able to make an outline of some main points about their person. This would set them up for their presentation in front of the class.
Once everyone has an adequate amount of information on their famous person, they would need to present the material in front of the class for around 5 minutes. I want them to practice public speaking skills while they are conveying information to their classmates.
The final novel that I chose was The Giver. Unlike Stargirl or To Kill A Mockingbird, The Giver is not like society today. I would want my students to be able to describe how the plot differs from today's society while being able to list some themes throughout the book.