Read-Alouds for Those Who Don’t Care

For about two weeks before the end of the school year, I put aside trying to teach one of my classes and read out loud to them instead. I wanted to revive whatever dormant interest they had in stories, or create one if it never existed.

The stories had to be engaging (gripping, funny, sad, scary), short enough to read aloud in one sitting, and relatively clean. I also wanted to pick stories that the students were unlikely to read in school, though I realized that other teachers tend to pick stories based on the criteria above, which means the pool is relatively small.

Most important, every story had to make an impact. I didn’t care whether the students hated the story or loved it as long as they cared.

Here are the ones we read, in order:

  • “The Veldt,” Ray Bradbury
  • “Through the Tunnel,” Doris Lessing
  • “To Build a Fire,” Jack London
  • “My First Deer, and Welcome to It,” Patrick F. McManus
  • “The Long Rain,” Ray Bradbury
  • “A Brilliant Idea and His Own,” Mark Helprin

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