Below are books with a Lexile of 1200 or higher. I selected 1200 because this score, as illustrate below, shows that even most 12th graders do not read and comprehend text at this level, yet; many gifted students have Lexile levels in the 1300s.
It is recommended that students read 50 points above or below their Lexile level for optimal growth. Students with higher Lexile scores sometimes struggle to find interesting and appropriate books. Below are some recommendations.
For more information about Lexile, go to http://www.lexile.com/about-lexile/lexile-overview/
Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Chris Crowe Lexile 1210
I selected this one for gifted students to read because it meets two of Bertie Kingore’s (a guru in the gifted education field) recommendations for abstract thinking complexity, and depth. It is both challenging in content and is describes and challenges the deep ethical, moral, and equality issues that plagued our country in the 1950s.
Gifted students could focus their reading on change over time analysis, ethics concerns about this case, and differing perspectives on the events described.
It is also nonfiction, which means it is likely to introduce students to different vocabulary since most of them read fiction. Also, the fact that the story is about a teenager helps to connect students to this book, in ways that adults characters do not. Students in 8th grade also study the 1950s in history so it would be a great connection with another discipline and could be a basis for a research and independent study project.
Finally, Emmett Till was from Chicago and was buried in the Burr Oak Cemetery.
Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Also related to Emmett Till is this Video: Trailer for the Documentary, 'The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till'
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach Lexile 1230
I selected this book because the title has an oxymoron in it and the book does an incredible job explaining the value of cadavers. Gifted students will appreciate the humor and irony of human beings contributing long after they have died. In addition, students will appreciate the different perspective and way of looking at death and corpses offered here. At one point Roach describes these cadavers as Superman, "...they brave fire without flinching, withstand falls from tall buildings, and head-on car crashes into walls...Their heads can be removed with no deleterious effect...What a shame to waste these powers, to not use them for the betterment of humankind" (p.10).
Adult/High School-Those curious or brave enough to find out what really happens to a body that is donated to the scientific community can do so with this book. Dissection in medical anatomy classes is about the least bizarre of the purposes that science has devised. Mostly dealing with such contemporary uses such as stand-ins for crash-test dummies, Roach also pulls together considerable historical and background information. Bodies are divided into types, including "beating-heart" cadavers for organ transplants, and individual parts-leg and foot segments, for example, are used to test footwear for the effects of exploding land mines. Just as the nonemotional, fact-by-fact descriptions may be getting to be a bit too much, Roach swings into macabre humor. In some cases, it is needed to restore perspective or aid in understanding both what the procedures are accomplishing and what it is hoped will be learned. In all cases, the comic relief welcomes readers back to the world of the living. For those who are interested in the fields of medicine or forensics and are aware of some of the procedures, this book makes excellent reading.
Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Below is an interview you can listen to with the author of stiff, Mary Roach. It is about 14 minutes and was
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich Lexile 1340
I selected this book for gifted students to read because it stirs up many prejudices, misconceptions, and stereotypes about being poor in America. Since students have keen sense for what is fair and just, I think the ethical and moral issues that readers are faced to examine will have a lasting affect on them and how they think about people working minimum wage jobs.
Also though, this book, like so many, does not offer solution. I think this is a critical piece, because gifted students need to be challenged to read about injustices and strive to *create* ways to make this world a better place for the weakest or poorest.
Awards & Distinctions
Library Journal - by Jack Forman
Looking back on her experiences, Ehrenreich claims that the hardest thing for her to accept is the invisibility of the poor; one sees them daily in restaurants, hotels, discount stores, and fast-food chains but one doesn't recognize them as poor because, after all, they have jobs. No real answers to the problem but a compelling sketch of its reality and pervasiveness.
This link describes the play version of this book. It is about 7 minutes and combines an interview and parts of the play.
Fat Tire: A Celebration of the Mountain Bike by Amici Design Lexile 1330
I selected this recommendation for gifted students because I think the historical layout and the details about mountain biking are fresh and interesting. This book is nonfiction and like most nonfiction books it is introduces students to higher levels and more diverse vocabulary. This book has a variety of vocabulary that is rooted in history and invention, but it is more contemporary history since the mountain bike has only really been around for about 25 years. Also though, it takes time to explore the subcultures and the people who ride mountain bikes. This is an especially good book for students who appreciate information that is thorough and well researched. Finally, the modern topic means that having this book a desk will not illicit ridicule or awkward attention.
From Library Journal
YA-A soup-to-nuts overview of the history, technology, and culture of the mountain bike. The cover alone will attract young adults, for an actual piece of tire tread adorns one side of it. While this tread may present a little shelving inconvenience, the book won't stay on the shelves for long. This somewhat eclectic volume is actually quite informative, covering topics as divergent as a history (with a 1921 photo) of Shozaburo Shimano (founder of one of the biggest bike R and D firms), detailed descriptions of parts from suspension forks and drivetrains to hubs, to interviews with mountain-bike champions. Copious glossy, color photographs illustrate each of the five major sections. The descriptions of "Mountain Bike Meccas" are accompanied by breathtaking photos of destinations from Moab, UT, to the Inca Trail of Peru. Even readers who are not familiar with this sport will have a good time with this book.
Becky Ferrall, Stonewall Jackson High School, Manassas, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer Lexile 1270
I selected this book because it is about a gifted and intelligent boy named Chris who graduates from college at the top of his class, but is disenchanted with society and its emphasis on money and material things. I think gifted student will be able to relate to Chris’s frustration and deep need to strike out on his own and test himself. In addition though, this story examines relationships Chris had with his family, particularly his father in letters and journals that were found after Chris died. Ironically, the story is told through Chris’s father so the reader is given a different perspective and lens to look at Chris through. This book is one that will encourage students to think about their own decisions, how their decisions affect others, society’s expectations of them, and the relationships they have with people in their lives.
Awards & Distinctions
After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he went to live in the wilderness. Four months later, he turned up dead. His diary, letters and two notes found at a remote campsite tell of his desperate effort to survive, apparently stranded by an injury and slowly starving. They also reflect the posturing of a confused young man, raised in affluent Annandale, Va., who self-consciously adopted a Tolstoyan renunciation of wealth and return to nature. Krakauer, a contributing editor to Outside and Men's Journal, retraces McCandless's ill-fated antagonism toward his father, Walt, an eminent aerospace engineer. Krakauer also draws parallels to his own reckless youthful exploit in 1977 when he climbed Devils Thumb, a mountain on the Alaska-British Columbia border, partly as a symbolic act of rebellion against his autocratic father. In a moving narrative, Krakauer probes the mystery of McCandless's death, which he attributes to logistical blunders and to accidental poisoning from eating toxic seed pods. Maps. 35,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This link is from the movie version of Into the Wild
Things, things, things
I'm Gonna Take Stock of That