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Animorphs to rescue reluctant readers

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I teach 7th and 8th grade ESL in Tempe, AZ. I was struggling with my advanced ESL class. I knew that they needed to start reading on their own to really make huge gains in English. The problem was that they were such poor readers that it was difficult for them to read interesting books. None of the students in my class had read a novel on their own. I felt they could do it if they knew how interesting books could be. I got each student a copy of Animorphs #1. Animorphs is a series of at least 30 or so books about children that are trying to save the world from aliens. They do this by morphing into various animals, a power they were given by "good aliens". The kids loved this story. I read it aloud and they followed along. After we finished the novel, I showed the Animorphs video. All the kids were disappointed in the video. I pointed out that the book is always better than the movie. The kids begged for me to read more Animorph books. I bought several of the books in the series and kept them in my room. I told them they could check them out. I had 5 kids go on to read several more of them on their own. One boy read 13. It's nice to introduce a series to kids so that they know the characters, etc. they don't waste time deciding what to read next. These books are so interesting considering the reading level, that adult ESL students would probably like them. They held my attention.

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