6 Reasons Why You Should Read Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Welcome to Literacy Land!  It's Lauren from Teacher Mom of 3 here today to talk about a book I just finished reading.  As soon as I started Wonder by R.J. Palacio, I knew that I had to share it with you!

Wonder is a book that is destined to be a classic.  It's one of those books that draws you in, and you don't want it to end.  I could have read this realistic fiction novel in a few hours, but instead I savored it by only reading a few chapters each evening.  For me, it's also one of those books that is so incredible that it's hard to put into words.  You just have to read it to fully experience it.

  With a mixture of humor, sadness, and relatable themes, the book has the reader on a roller coaster of emotions.  From the very beginning, I was drawn to the main character, Auggie, a ten year old who has been homeschooled until now, the beginning of his fifth grade year.  Auggie was born with facial abnormalities and dreams of being ordinary, fitting in, and making friends at his new school. The book chronicles his unbelievable first year at Beecher Prep.

Why You Should Read WONDER

1.  R.J. Palacio called her debut novel a "meditation of kindness".   It is a beautiful story of kindness and how it isn't always easy to step outside of our comfort zones, but it is so worth it.

2.  Along with kindness, the book is rich with other themes such as anti-bullying and having compassion, acceptance, and empathy for others. Students will be able to relate to these themes and how Auggie desires to want to fit in, not stand out.

3.  With so much to discuss, the book makes for a memorable read aloud, as a literature circle selection, or as a whole-class novel.

4.  Auggie's English teacher, Mr. Browne has a precept for each month of the year for his students (and the reader) to ponder.  You may have seen his September precept floating around on Pinterest or Facebook:  When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.  And so the kindness theme begins!  

5. The author's craft is just stunning! From the shifting points of view to character development to vocabulary, and theme, the book is artistically woven together. And as a result, the story teaches, entertains, and inspires the reader to be a better person.

6.  After reading, you will be amazed at how one kid, one little kid, can change and affect an entire school. And then you can encourage students to Be the change you want to see in this world {Mahatma Gandhi}.

7.  You will be encouraged by the message of hope that is in the book.  Yes, there is hope, always hope, and YOU can overcome what seems like insurmountable challenges.

Suggested Reading/Grade Level

When I first read the synopsis on Amazon, I immediately wanted to purchase it for a read aloud with my 8 and 9 year old sons that are entering third and fourth grades. The suggested age level is 8-12 years old and the grade level is 3-7.  However, I felt that the book would be best enjoyed by 5th-7th graders because the plot development and some of the content is abstract and complex  For example, the symbolism and the precepts require some literacy analysis that third and fourth graders may not be ready for.  Part of the story line includes the talk of boyfriends/girlfriends and dating. I knew my boys would be turned off by that!

The book has a Lexile of 790, a Guided Reading level of U and a DRA level of 50.

If you plan to use the book in your classroom, here are just a few classroom resources from Teachers Pay Teachers that I found:
Have you read Wonder?  What are some wonderful ways you have used the book in your classroom?  

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