(teachers only) How can I get my class of 32 7th graders (mostly boys) interested in "The Call of the Wild"?

Question:This particular reading class is only 30-40 min. each day. The novel is a required reading along with four other novels for the year. I tried to have them read it themselves but the vocab. is too difficult for them. This is a Title 1 school and most of these kids are reading at the fourth grade level. I am required to have them read it themselves or to have it read to them (by the way, they cannot take these books out of the room to read at home---school rule). I have given them vocab. lists for each chapter and I'll be reading it to them next week. Any other suggestions. I've researched tons of activities that go with the novel but with the minimal time I have I won't be able to do much more than just read-alouds if I'm going to get through all these novels this year.

Answers:
the "teachers only" part really intrigued me, so although i'm a 10th grade student (sorry), i'm quite sure i can help you out here.

now i'm sure that the last thing a hormonal mess like a 7th grade boy has to deal with is sitting for 40 minutes and reading Jack London novels, but you should explain to them that it's a thrilling tale of survival in nature's worst. i think you should read it aloud (with all the perfectly dramatic pauses and such... almost act it out with just your voice) and that alone should start to get their attention.

also, you could try reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen before reading Call of the Wild. this will be more time consuming, but i don't think that any adolescent boy would dislike Hatchet. heck, even girls like Hatchet. the students can relate to the book easily and it's a perfect reading level for them. it will get them interested in "survival" themes and simply rip-roaring to read Call of the Wild. i know for a fact that after my 4th grade teacher read Hatchet to us, every single person in the class was hooked on survival stories.

hope I helped! (despite my less-than-professional opinion lol)

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