Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reaching Reluctant Readers with the Bluford Series

I'll be honest and start this post out with an acknowledgement that I have never actually read any of the Bluford Series. From what I understand, they're a HiLo (high interest, low reading level) series designed for urban middle and high schoolers. The books depict characters in situations reflective of the urban experience - choosing between earning an honest buck or turning to dealing, staying in school or dropping out, the dangers of gang violence.

Even though I haven't read any of them myself* I can attest to knowing many urban teachers who use this series with their middle school students. And the kids LOVE these books. They can't get enough of them. The most reluctant of readers in my friend Jonathan's sixth grade special education class absolutely devours these books and anxiously awaits new titles. And Jonathan's not the only one who's experienced success with this series. Middle school librarian Sara Stevenson shares the story of her Bluford High Boys in a comic retelling about her Bluford High Book Club.

Oh, and did I mention that they cost only $1 each? Or that there's a Teacher's Guide (which sells or $15 on its own, but is also available in the boxed set, which includes all 15 titles for only $20?) Or that the publisher, Townsend Press, also publishes a collection of classics that also cost only $1 each? Now there's a gateway drug on which we should all hope to get our teens hooked.
Which leads me to ask, as I'll be starting at a middle school library in the fall...What books are your reluctant readers - suburban, urban or rural - reluctant to put down?
* I'm planning to purchase multiple box sets for the resource room I'm managing this summer and will read the series during my off/down time - pending the books are actually checked-in, which I'm sure they won't be, because the middle schoolers of Chicago will love them, and I'm not one to put myself between a teen and his/her reading.

1 comment:

  1. Scholastic reprinted the first ten with infinitely better covers (and through b+t it's only like 2.50 a book). I own three of each and they are hardly ever on the shelf.