A critical part of an elementary language arts curriculum is interactive read aloud. During read aloud time, teachers are able to model fluency as well as critical reading skills like inference and using context clues to find the meaning of words. This year's Newbery Book Award winner is "Merci Saurez Changes Gears," which is a realistic fiction novel set in Florida. “Merci Saurez Changes Gears” is an ideal read aloud book for upper elementary grades because it is rich in vocabulary and narrative techniques, it is written from the perspective of a Latino sixth grader navigating her changing relationships, and because there are many opportunities to make inferences and use context clues. This book provides learning opportunities for students because it is one that many students would have difficulty comprehending independently, but with the support of teacher modeling and collaborative conversations, they will be able to access. “Merci Saurez Changes Gears” is also an excellent class read aloud book because it will be a high interest text for fourth and fifth grade students. Children like to read about kids who are a little bit older than them; it gives them an opportunity to try to understand what their futures will be like. The main character is a sixth grader beginning middle school, therefore many students will be inclined to read on to see what her experience is like. The main character in this book, Merci Saurez, is thoughtful and like many early adolescents, struggling to figure out changes with her family, her identity, and her friendships. Her problems are relatable. Meg Medina, the author, beautifully weaves these problems together in prose that is both teachable and conversation provoking. This book will spur conversation, teachable moments, and community bonding as students will relate to Merci Saurez like a friend. Socialjusticebooks.org recommends this book, it is the most recent Newbery Award winning book, and it receives an A+ from Common Sense Media in educational value.
$293 - 25 Copies of "Merci Saurez Changes Gears"
Benefits of Program (10 points)
All upper elementary students would benefit from the addition of 25 copies of “Merci Saurez Changes Gears” because these books will be housed in the school library. Therefore, any teacher could check out the class set for their class to use. This book will take about two months to read as a class interactive read aloud. Therefore, four to five classes per year could use this class set of books as part of their interactive read aloud program.
Success of Program (10 points)
Success of this program will be measured largely by the number of students who read this book as part of a class read aloud, a guided reading group, or potentially, independently. On a more specific level, success with this novel will be measured by the teachers who choose to read this book with their class. Teachers will measure success by assessing the number of students who learn from this book by evaluating students’ responses during collaborative conversations, their written responses of the book, and their ability to apply the same comprehension strategies that will be modeled and practiced during read aloud to their independent reading.
This purchase would take place through Amazon Prime, which offers a low price on the book and free shipping.
Implementation (10 points)
There is no setup required to implement this program, aside from ordering the books and placing them on the class sets books shelf in the library. Ms. Hines, the librarian, already as a system in place for teachers to check out class sets of books. Therefore, an addition such as this class set of books can be used immediately.
Yes, this grant will be sustainable. These books will be hard-covered books, which will prolong their life. The books will also only be used in the classroom and will not be taken home by students, so there isn’t a risk of them being lost or damaged.
Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?
Yes, this grant will be available for all teachers. I have discussed this book with the fourth grade team and explained the many benefits I see in choosing this book as a class read aloud.