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The Best Books for Students in Grades 4-8:
Practical Activities and Strategies

Presented by Bonnie Kunzel
Nationally Known Presenter and Author

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Specially Designed for Educators Serving: Classroom Teachers, Reading Specialists, School Librarians/Media Specialists, Public Librarians, Library Aides, Title I Staff, Administrators, and Parents

  • An insightful overview of the very best books for young people in grades 4-8 matched with practical activities to use in your program
  • An exciting day packed with books that have won awards, books to fit your curriculum, books that celebrate diversity, and much, much, more
  • Realistic tips, suggestions and strategies to encourage your students to read
  • An extensive resource handbook filled with more than a dozen annotated booklists all focused on grades 4-8 — a resource you will use for years to come

Practical Ideas and Strategies

Thousands of books suitable for readers in grades 4-8 are published every year. The question arises: What are the best titles and how do you best share them? Major awards like the John Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpre, and Robert F. Sibert have been established to recognize the best new books for young readers. These are just some of the resources for both intermediate and middle school titles to pique the interest of grades 4-8 readers.

Children’s literature expert, Bonnie Kunzel, will share these “best of the best” titles with you in engaging booktalks that not only highlight honored works but also provide practical activities and strategies to assist you in forging a connection between your students and books, a connection that could help your students become lifelong readers.

In this valuable seminar, you will gain firsthand knowledge of books that have been recognized for their excellence, as well as the best of the new titles. You will leave with an extensive resource handbook, packed with a wide variety of booklists, useful in both classroom and library settings. This resource handbook is a reference tool you can use time and again as you do what those of us who work with young people like to do best — connect them with the very best books written for them.

Ten Key Benefits of Attending

  1. Connect with the Best of the Best in Books for Grades 4-8
    Examine award-winning titles that have withstood the passage of time and remain relevant to today’s students in grades 4-8 … Powerful, new insights from one of the nation’s foremost experts in literature for young people
  2. Focus on the Best of the Best New Titles for Grades 4-8
    Discover exciting, new titles that are regarded by reviewers as the perfect vehicles for capturing the interest of intermediate and middle school readers
  3. Award Winners that Will Capture the Attention of Your Students
    Carnegie … Newbery … Pura Belpre … Sibert … Whitbread … What are these awards and which winners with the most student appeal do you need to know about for your classrooms and your collections?
  4. Nonfiction is Not Just for Research and Reports
    Research has shown that boys in particular like to read nonfiction for pleasure. But a lot of girls do, too. What biographies have proven appeal to students in grades 4-8? What are the best pop culture titles? What nonfiction books are fun for browsing?
  5. The Best Intermediate and Middle School Adult Authors
    Which authors have been recognized (or should be) for their significant contributions to literature for students in grades 4-8? Which authors writing today are consistent student-pleasers?
  6. From Fruits Basket to Spider Man: Japanese Manga and American Graphic Novels
    Graphic novels are comic books collected in trade paperback format or original works of literature published in comic book format … Manga is the Japanese term for graphic novels published in that country, a format that is exceptionally popular with young people today … Find out which titles are currently “hot” among your readers in grades 4-8
  7. From Harry Potter to Fairy Tale Retellings: The Explosion of Fantasy Written for Intermediate Students
    From the boy wizard to novel-length fairy tales, fantasy literature has never been more popular … Find out what titles to recommend to your avid fantasy fans and what titles you should read, to give you a better understanding of this genre that is so popular with your readers in grades 4-8
  8. Reading Aloud, Grades 4-8
    Studies show that intermediate and middle school students want you to read aloud to them … Learn some tips on how to best use this effective technique at this unique age level
  9. How to Engage Reluctant Readers
    An outstanding expert booktalks her way through the best books for readers in grades 4-8 as well as sharing ideas, tips and activities for getting reluctant readers involved with books
  10. Booklists, Booklists, Booklists
    Why reinvent the wheel? Booklists of all kinds will be provided in the extensive resource handbook you will receive at the seminar — all ideal for grades 4-8

Outstanding Strategies You Can Use Immediately

  • A    Annotated booklists
  • B    Books for the stages of development in the creation of lifelong readers
  • C    Competence, Confidence, Connection Character, Caring: Books for the psychological development of tweens
  • D    Diverse titles for a diverse world
  • E    Eclectic selection: Books of all kinds
  • F    Five most popular types of literature for students in grades 4 through 8: From serials to mysteries
  • G   Guy books: www.guyreads.com [The perfect resource for books for boys]
  • H    Historical fiction, for fun and for your curriculum
  • I      Informational books, including titles from the Sibert Award & the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction
  • J     Just for laughs: Humor for intermediate students
  • K    Knowledge about the latest ideas for connecting your students and books
  • L     Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter and beyond: Fantasies your students will want to read
  • M    Manga (the Japanese comic books so popular with today’s young people)
  • N     Networking opportunities with colleagues and presenter
  • O     Online resources
  • P     Picture books, ideal for grades 4-8
  • Q    Quality books for intermediate readers
  • R    Review sources and professional journals
  • S     Science fiction for young people
  • T     Ten myths about intermediate students and reading
  • U     Unique resource handbook
  • V     Verse novels and poetry ideal for your students
  • W   Ways to reach out to intermediate students: Tips and techniques for booktalking, book discussion groups, etc.
  • X    X-Men and other graphic novel superheroes popular with young people
  • Y    YALSA and ALSC Booklists: www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists and www.ala.org/alsc
  • Z   Zest for life: Fun books your students will love to read

A Message From Your Seminar Leader

Dear Colleague:

In her excellent resource for anyone who works with students in grades 4-8, Naked Reading: Uncovering What Tweens Need to Become Lifelong Readers, my friend and colleague, Teri Lesesne explains why the current interest in books for intermediate students is so important. In the past, according to conventional wisdom, we began to lose our students as readers in middle school and junior high. Now the bar is considerably lower, with students in the fifth, fourth and some as low as the third grade beginning to turn their backs on books and reading. Not because they can’t read or are lacking in the necessary skills, but because they simply choose not to read. They are still doing their school assignments. What they are not doing is what we all know is an immensely satisfying and rewarding experience; they are no longer reading for pleasure. In the process, they are not only losing the opportunity to become lifelong readers, but also its corollary, the opportunity to become lifelong learners.

What can we do to get them back on track? How can we share and hopefully reignite in these readers our own passion for reading? And how can we meet the challenge of this audience that is “between,” no longer kids and not yet teens? What books can we find to connect with readers who turn their backs on books for “little kids” but are not yet ready for the more intense reading experience found in teen novels? This seminar is designed to answer those questions for you, to introduce you to a wealth of titles with proven “tween” appeal, books that are not only appropriate for their intellectual, emotional, moral, and social development but will also capture their interests and set them back on the path to reading for pleasure and becoming lifelong readers. In addition, I will share with you some practical activities and strategies that have already proven to be effective in connecting students in grades 4-8 with books and reading.

I love to read and talk about books for young people – with students, with my colleagues and now with all of you. I’m delighted to have this opportunity to share a wealth of titles, both those with a proven track record as well as new favorites, with colleagues like you who are looking for ways to connect students and books. I look forward to meeting you and talking about some of these wonderful authors and their books with you. My goal is for you to leave this seminar with practical ideas for working with this age group, hundreds of age-appropriate titles to add to your repertoire and my enthusiasm and passion about these books to pass on to your readers in grades 4-8.

Bonnie Kunzel

P.S. If you’re looking for books to stir the interest of your readers in grades 4-8, this is the seminar for you. If you’re looking for a fun-filled day of talk about books and young people and how to bring them together, this is the seminar for you. Enjoy!

Who Should Attend

Educators serving grades 4-8: Classroom Teachers, Reading Specialists, School Librarians/Media Specialists, Public Librarians, Library Aides, Title I Staff, Administrators, and Parents.

Special Benefits of Attending

Extensive Resource Handbook
Each participant will receive an extensive resource handbook designed specifically for this seminar by Bonnie Kunzel. The handbook includes:

  • A discussion list of the Best Books for Students in grades 4-8, including award winners, titles with a proven track record for student appeal, new favorites, and books that are appropriate for the intellectual, emotional, moral, and social development of readers in grades 4-8
  • Booklists, fully annotated, more than one a month to use with your curriculum
  • Review sources and online resources
  • Tips and techniques on book discussion groups, booktalking, reading aloud, and more

Meet and Share
A variety of the newest titles for students in grades 4-8, as well as a selection of Manga and graphic novels will be available for perusal.

Consultation Available
Bonnie Kunzel will be available before, during and after the seminar to discuss books and students’ issues with seminar participants.

On-Site Training Guarantee

BER is not a booking agency that just finds a presenter who presents on the topic you requested. Rather, we only recommend highly experienced BER presenters who have consistently received outstanding evaluations from educators attending their trainings.

Consequently, we provide a strong program guarantee.

We guarantee you'll be fully satisfied or you'll owe us nothing after your on-site training event.

Bring this seminar to your school or district!

Free Quote Button