District News

11/15/2018 - To 9th grade families regarding Companion Text for Of Mice and Men

Dear 9th graders and guardians, November 12, 2018

RE:  Companion Texts for Of Mice and Men:  Read-A-Thon

We believe students need voice and choice in their reading selections.  Offering choice creates a student-centered learning environment, where individual strengths and interests are celebrated.  We are striving to build a thriving reading culture. In collaboration with Mrs. Mattioli, the high school library media specialist; and Ms. Glasgow,  the teen librarian at the local public library, we have created this list of companion texts to complement our reading of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.  We are excited to pair contemporary works of literature representing diverse viewpoints with the traditional canon of literature typically taught in high schools around the country.

We will read this book in a “Read- A-Thon” style, meaning students will create their own reading schedule based upon individual reading goals. We will spend 10 days reading this novel, with time in class to read as well as reading homework.  We will teach strategies for students to track their thinking and help them prepare for discussions. During the unit, we will have reading conferences with individual students. They are expected to finish their book within the ten day time period.  Some students, however, will finish before then. In that case, they should have a second book ready to go. The unit will culminate in a thematic response explaining how their choice book complements our mentor text Of Mice and Men.  

We aim to strengthen our reading culture--one where students have ownership in their reading material, where different interests are celebrated, and where students develop a love of reading.  That means having a lot of books available for students. We have written a grant to help build our classroom libraries, but we have not heard if our grant application will be awarded. We are asking families to help us provide choice for our students.

For that reason, we are asking students to purchase a book to participate in this endeavor.  Both the high school and public libraries can order additional copies of the books; however, there will not be enough for everyone.  If students cannot purchase a book, please let us know so that we can coordinate with the libraries to order additional copies.

On the back is a list of companion text choices.  We will have a display in the library for students to look them over.  In addition, each book is linked with Amazon.com so that students can read a review to get a better understanding of the book.  

Students need to have their book with them in class after the Thanksgiving break.


Karla Principe and Michelle Wnuk


Out of Darkness  -  Ashley Hope Pérez

The Book of Unknown Americans  -  Cristina Henríquez

Little Bee - Chris Cleave

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Saenz

Orphan Train - Christina Baker Kline

The Last Time We Say Good  -  Cynthia Hand

All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky  -  Joe R. Lansdale

Crossing the Tracks  - Barbara Stubner

Tell Us We're Home Budhos  -  Marina Tamar

Now Is the Time for Running  - Michael Williams

American Street  - Ibi Aanu Zoboi

The Boy in the Black Suit  -  Jason Reynolds

Girls Like Us - Gail Giles

Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein

Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys

Student Choice:  If students have a book in mind that they have not read, and that connects to Of Mice and Men (conflict, characters, theme, etc), please have them check it over with their English teacher first.