Finding novels for small groups or whole classes to read can be a difficult exercise. Here I'd like to introduce one of my favourite books - a great coming of age story appropriate for 8-14 year old readers.
The Ruins of Gorlan is the first book in the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan. It takes us to the fictional world of Araluen - similar to medieval England - a world of castles and knights and the mysterious Rangers.
The hero of the story is Will, a young orphan who wants to be a knight. However, he is considered too small to join the battle school and is instead apprenticed to the enigmatic Ranger, Halt. We follow his training as an apprentice until an almost forgotten enemy appears to test Halt, Will and others around them
Although there are some fantastical elements to this book (those elements aren't really present in later books in the series) it is primarily an adventure. It's also an origin story - we see how Will enters training as a Ranger, how he is challenged through that training and asked to make decisions which will shape his future, how he interacts with his mentor and how he can apply his training in an unthinkable situation.
There's a lot in this book which can be used in the classroom. The fictional medieval elements allow research and discussion of medieval history. The characters in the story are challenged by a number of situations, allowing for some interesting discussions. The origin story element allows for comparisons with other texts like comic books, other first books in series and prequels. There's also incredibly rich vocabulary used throughout the book, allowing for word work and discussions.
Find more Ranger’s Apprentice - The Ruins of Gorlan Resources at Teachers Pay Teachers.
Comprehension and Vocabulary - Complete comprehension and vocabulary activities for The ruins of Gorlan
Character Activities - Activities covering a range of characters in The Ruins of Gorlan
Research Tasks - A series of research tasks which explore connected topics
Whole Novel Activities - Activities covering the whole novel
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