I stumbled upon Kate DiCamillo's The Tiger Rising when taking a professional development course on literacy, novels and the Common Core for my district. I had high expectations for this course since it seemed to combine all my favorite things.
There were four people in the class, including myself and my co-teacher.
Most of the class was geared toward making sure teachers knew that not all students needed the same things or read at the same level, thus the point of small groups. Not quite what I signed up for.
Nevertheless, we were assigned this book to read as homework. Technically, just the first 8 chapters but I don't like starting books and not finishing them. I wouldn't read this with my highest readers but it's a good book for my slightly below grade level readers because:
1. It is a chapter book and that makes them feel grown upl
2. It's about animals and a mystery, which intrigues them.
3. There are social issues of bullying and feeling like an outsider that they (unfortunately) can relate to.
Scholastic has some decent free resources, but I didn't feel it was enough for my small groups. So I made my own teacher unit, which you can snag here. I included pre and post reading questions, homework, comprehension questions for each chapter (with answers), vocabulary and more!