Are you familiar with Fred Bowen? As teachers, you might be familiar with his fictional chapter books related to sports topics. Did you know that he is actually a sports writer for the KidsPost, the children's edition of the Washington Post? His column, The Score, is written especially for kids and is a big hit in my classroom. It provides authentic and manageable reading for my little athletes!
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In the eyes of my boys, this makes him a pretty cool dude! Can you think of a better way to lure a young boy to a chapter book than to hook him on the author via a current article about sports? Once you have him hooked on the author, you just might be able to hook him on his chapter books. Whatever it takes, right?
I see a double deal with Mr. Bowen. Nonfiction news articles, printed or explored via the internet, to use with Common Core's Informational Texts standards, and then hop right over to work on a few Literacy Standards using his novels. You just might turn a non-reader into a motivated reader that can't put down his novel about football, or baseball, etc. Check out a few of Mr. Bowen's books and be sure to check out his articles linked above.
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One of my favorite novels by Fred Bowen is Touchdown Trouble! A fun, easy read that incorporates football and a few valuable lessons. If you aren't familiar with the "Fifth Down" that occurred between Dartmouth and Cornell in 1940, you will want to ask football fan! Mr. Bowen ties in a bit of football trivia and references this historical play in the novel, in a fun way! It's a great story to use to compare and contrast characters, and to work on inferring character traits. Why not take the month of September to get your boys, and even your girls motivated to read? A little Fred Bowen in the fall, just might hook your football fans for the remainder of the year! With a 660 lexile, it is not intimidating and is manageable for most readers.
Here's a Task Card to help students see how an author develops his main character(s). I hope you can use it. It works well with any text with strong characters. If you decide to use Touchdown Trouble, you might find these articles, Men of Honor and The Fifth Down Game useful. Both are nonfiction pieces that talk about the real Fifth Down that happened between Cornell and Dartmouth in 1940, and are fun to use along with the novel. I've included a few close reading tips and comprehension questions to go with the second article. It's a tough read, but a valuable text with proper scaffolding. Also a great way to get some dads involved with reading! They are going to want to borrow this book from their kids. :)
Hope you can use some of these books to get your boys, and maybe even your girls reading this fall! Enjoy your day. Click over and visit Collaboration Cuties to see other Mentor Texts that have been linked up for this fabulous party!
~Before you go~
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