A few years ago I picked up Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. I could hardly put it down!
Melody is a character that becomes, within the first few pages, very real. She tells her story the same way any 10 3/4 year old would. She has cerebral palsy and is unable to control almost all of the muscles in her body, even the ones we require for speech. Almost 11 and profoundly intelligent, yet she has never spoken a single word.
I decided that this story is perfect for 4th grade students. The students in our school participate in a special day designed to enlighten them about life from a disabled perspective. And in our inclusive school, it’s where I have started to notice kids starting to pick on our differently abled students.
Today I started the book with two of my four 4th grades. I held it up and told them that we were going to “try it out” as a read aloud; if they didn’t want to finish as a class that would be fine. Within each class I had kids saying:
I don’t want to read a whole book about a fish!
It’s too long…
They were hooked by page 2.