I usually choose Newbery books. Last year, I read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White over a month while my 4th grade students worked on a play based on part of the book, read Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia Maclachlan and wrote a week’s worth of lessons based on an excerpt from Louis Sachar’s Holes (Newbery Medal, 1999). This December I am reading Sarah, Plain and Tall again (5 days’ worth of reading) and A Cricket in Times Square by George Selden aloud for my 4th graders. A few more of my favorite Newbery books are From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Koenigsburg, The View from Saturday by E.L. Koenigsburg, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, and The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. These books have fairly easy vocabulary for ESL students, are interesting for high school students, and are not too culturally loaded. I have used some of these books in lessons or encouraged my upper elementary students here to read them on their own.
Another teacher at my school read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien aloud to her 5th graders, and they seemed to understand it pretty well.
I know for a fact that, with the exception of The Westing Game, all of these books can be found in the children’s books section of the Eslite on Dun Hua S. Rd. near Ren Ai circle. I went there last year when I bought a Newbery Medal or Honor book for every single one of my 4th graders based on their personalities and reading abilities as an end-of-the-year present which I plan to do for my students this year since they are so great and are all excellent readers, even though some need more prodding than others.