I like to make my library displays dynamic and interactive, so for my bulletin board last month I incorporated my “Wise Readers” library theme and created the Who Said It contest. I pulled a stack of new books I wanted to introduce to the upper elementary students, and I typed up the first sentence or two from each in a speech bubble. Then I printed some plain “clip art” books and numbered them. I wanted to let the books do the talking and the kids do the listening, so I only chose books that had intriguing opening paragraphs and I made sure to include a variety of genres. I stapled the blank books and the excerpts to the bulletin board with the heading “Whooo Said It?” at the top.
Students had about two weeks to figure out which books were being quoted and turn in an entry form with the title or the name of the character doing the speaking in each excerpt. All students who got at least one correct answer received a treat, and the student with the most correct answers won a $5.00 gift certificate to our upcoming book fair. After the entries had been turned in, I replaced the numbered books with the actual book covers, including the call numbers where the books could be found in the library (added after I took the photo below).
The books I used are as follows. Click the title for a “Look Inside” preview.
- One For the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
- Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg
- The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Bell
- Ranger In Time: Hurricane Katrina Rescue by Kate Messner
- Bad Kitty: School Daze by Nick Bruell
- Spirit Animals: Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater
- The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
- Notebook of Doom: Charge of the Lightning Bugs by Troy Cummings
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Lola Levine and the Ballet Scheme by Monica Brown
- Swindle by Gordon Korman
- Owl Diaries: Eva and the New Owl by Rebecca Elliott
- Ellray Jakes is Not a Chicken by Sally Warner
- Junie B. Jones: Boss of Lunch by Barbara Park
- Stick Dog by Tom Watson
I plan to use this idea again to highlight more great books from our library collection. Do you have any recommendations for middle grade chapter books with compelling opening paragraphs? Please share in the comments!