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Book Substitutions for Co-op

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I'm one of the teachers at our co-op this fall. It's not a large co-op so I can't do much about the way the classes are divided up.


I received the reading list for the upper level (7-12th) literature/worldview class. My oldest will be in this class next year and the majority of the books I believe will be too difficult for her. I was talking this over with the director yesterday and she agreed that the younger grades in that class might have trouble. She suggested I come up with alternatives for the difficult books and bring them to our last planning meeting before summer break.


I need help finding alternatives! I'm assuming the teacher would want books subbed in that are similar in topic/theme so the younger grades could join in discussions in class.


Here's the list:


To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

Animal Farm (George Orwell)

The Law (Frederic Bastiat)

The Richest Man in Babylon (George Clason)

The Diary of Ann Frank (Ann Frank)

The Great Divorce (C.S. Lewis)

Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain)

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Ben Franklin)


I'm thinking Animal Farm, Tom Sawyer, Diary of Anne Frank, and To Kill a Mockingbird would be fine. It's the others that I'm worried about.


Any suggestions?

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If you do The Great Divorce, that leaves The Law and The Richest Man in Babylon, though I don't really know the latter book. The Law is really short... I'm not sure what you would substitute though. Is the goal of the substitutions to read something else similar but easier? To read something else that might enlighten them about the worldview aspects of the course? Honestly, that seems really tough to come up with something for those books... Maybe another political novel?

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If I was the teacher of this class, any modifications would be based on the composition of the class itself. 7-12 grade is pretty broad, so if I had a bunch of 7th graders and the oldest was one 11th grader, I'd change the list and then add on a few things for the 11th grader. If there was only one 7th grader and more high schoolers I'd keep the list and modify for the 7th grader, kwim?


To modify for younger kids I wouldn't substitute texts, I'd determine which themes and ideas I wanted to focus on and cut out the pages/chapters which were extraneous to those. I would allow a summary or cliff notes to fill in the background of what they weren't required to read. To ensure the olders were reading the full text I'd assign them a short text-response paper on the extra material and have a few extra questions for them during the in-class discussions "So, a question for you high schoolers who had to read chapter 3 - how does this Point X relate to Subpoint Y?"


If you are concerned about the reading level expected of the 7th graders definitely bring it up in the meeting. But I would expect the class teacher to be the one to make the differentiation.

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