Suggestions needed


I have started tutoring a 4th grade student in reading. I’ve only met with the student once, and I haven’t received any information yet from his teacher. All of the students in this tutoring program are suppose to be at least one grade level behind. In our initial meeting, from talking to him, it didn’t seem like he was. No matter, I think he could benefit from some one-on-one time.

During our session he said that he hated school, didn’t like to ‘write’, but liked telling stories. He also likes space. He also said that his favorite book was about the controversy over whether Pluto was a planet or not.

I’ve looked through all of the leveled books available to the tutors that have anything to do with space. Really? No wonder kids don’t like to read if these are the choices available to them. I thought they were really boring. So…..

What I’d like to do is to read a sci-fi book with him. I need something that isn’t too difficult, but will capture his attention. And it needs to have a space theme. The first thing that came to mind was something by Jules Verne. Although I haven’t read much by him — and not for several decades — I’m wondering if this might be a good choice.

Come on all of you librarians and teachers out there. What could I read with this bright boy who is neither a good student or reader. At least, by how the school system measures those things.

I’m not knocking testing and measurement — those things are important and this boy needs to catch up with his peers if he wants to be a success. We’ll meet weekly for one hour throughout the school year. I refuse to believe that we can’t find something that will help this young man.

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2 responses to “Suggestions needed

  1. Oh, thank you very much, Galen! I will check them out.

  2. Robert Heinlein wrote many sic-fi books for boys. They definitely are not an accurate portrayal of the planets themselves, but they are accurate about the solar system. (People have colonized the planets, but there are generally already native life forms.) Two of my favorites from growing up were Red Planet and Space Cadet. They are older, from the fifties and sixties, so the thoughts aren’t necessarily what they are today, although they encourage free thinking and individualism (in their own way). Better paced for today’s youth than Jules Verne… I think… It’s been a while since I read Verne. Also the main characters are closer in age to your student.

    Other suggestions that are not necessarily in the “space” genre is a series called “The Last Apprentice,” which deals with a “Spooks” apprentice- a spook being someone that deals with witches, bogarts, and other supernatural creatures. I’ve taught fifth and sixth graders to read on this, and it’s probably okay for a fourth grader. The trick is making it through the first chapter or two, and then they get really hooked.