I work at a school for blind and visually impaired kids (which I've mentioned here before, this isn't the first question I've asked about my job). I work on the dorms where the kids stay during the week.
The staff is encouraged to create and teach our own after school classes for the kids. These can be anything from a jewelry making class to a baking class to a class where we take trips to the animal shelter and have pet food drives for them. I used to have a gardening class for the kids I work with, but because of my schoolwork I ended up not having enough time outside of work to prepare the classes, and I had to tell my boss I couldn't do it anymore.
I'd still like to have a class though, and I had an idea for one when I noticed how much my students enjoy being read to. They're mostly in the 4th-5th grade range and many of them can read for themselves in either braille or large print, but they still enjoy listening to books, be they read by someone or an audiobook. I thought it might be sort of cool to have an after school class where I read to the kids from a book, maybe a chapter every class, and we do little projects related to the books we read.
These kids are very smart, and I'd like for the books we read to be appropriate for kids and something they can relate to, but a little deeper than the common Goosebumps book, you know? Something to make them think a little, something we can talk about. I'm currently reading some of my kids The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and I think that's a perfect example of the kind of book I'm after. I plan on finding a list of other books that have won the Newberry Award, but I thought I'd ask here too.
Do you guys have any recommendations for books I could read that are like I described above? I'm already thinking of doing The Hobbit, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Chasing Redbird or other books by Sharon Creech. I'd prefer stand-alone novels to books that are in a series, just because I'd like us to not have to commit to reading the whole series, but feel free to suggest those too.
What do you think I should call the class? It would be for the aforementioned 4th and 5th graders, and something like "Storytime" would probably seem "baby-ish" to them and drive them to not sign up.
Any ideas for projects we could do? I've thought about having them draw a picture of what they think the most important thing in the chapter is, as well as writing their own short stories related to what we read, but that's it.
Thanks, and sorry for the long post. :)
(X-posted to ask_me_anything)