Inner City Teacher Uses "Maurice on the Moon" to Help Teach Struggling Readers

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Cathy Seabourne, ninth grade reading intervention teacher at South East High School in South Gate, CA, recently uses Daniel Barth’s "Maurice on the Moon" to help students who struggle with reading. Her students quickly relate and engage with the book, while improving reading comprehension and knowledge on space science.

We need to push [students] just a little.

Cathy Seabourne teaches a ninth grade reading intervention class at South East High School, which is located within the inner city of South Gate, CA. Her mission is to help students who struggle with reading. She strives to find that next book or new method to motivate students to open up to literature and grow a desire to read. However, her mission is that much harder because her ninth grade students are reading at a fifth grade level and some even as low as a second grade level. She confirms, “Approximately 25 percent of the kids are proficient but 75 percent are at basic or far below basic reading levels.”

Cathy recently introduced Daniel Barth’s Maurice on the Moon to her class. Daniel Barth is the author of The Maurice Series, a three-book science fiction adventure series geared for 5th-8th graders. She was unsure of how her students would receive the book. She knew the book was too advanced for their current reading levels with the added complexity of all the science in it, but she says, “We need to push them just a little.”

To her surprise, Cathy’s students became quickly engaged with Maurice on the Moon. The book was full of things that drew their attention. Students were able to relate to the main characters, which made the reading more interesting. The book was short, making it less daunting for the students and the chapter titles even sparked good critical thinking. Also, her students felt that the science within the book came at a manageable pace. It was not overwhelming. Cathy says that she got a lot of “I get it” comments and even had students come into class asking, “Are we reading Maurice on the Moon today?”

Dan Barth, the author says, “Maurice is a science book, steeped in real science as that is my passion. But, Cathy is using it to teach reading skills, which both surprises me and thrills me.” For more information on Daniel Barth and his works, visit his website

Cathy is hoping to have Dan come, speak with her class, answer questions, and engage with the group of ninth graders who have grown an unexpected passion for reading through his book.

For more details on how Maurice on the Moon positively affected Cathy’s students and how schools can incorporate them within their curricula, read this article on

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