Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Using Review Books in the Classroom by Meghan Robertson

     We all know the tremendous power of literacy for its possessor. What I didn’t imagine when I started reading and reviewing for Children’s Literature was the power reading a children’s book could have within my classroom.

     That was until one day before the start of my Latin I class when two students, one generally outgoing and the other her very reserved and likely quiet because of emerging acquisition of English. However, this day went differently from the usual “20 questions” her verbal friend manages to ask before the bell. This day, the quiet observer noticed a small, girlie colored book on my desk. She came closer – and closer – and turned her head to read the title, confirming it was, in fact, one of the “Goddess Girls” series. At the point, I was watching a big smile spread across her face. It seemed she was wanting to look through the book or ask me about it, and she seemed both surprised and elated when I handed the book to her. As if receiving the permission she thought she needed, she suddenly came alive with questions, comments, and storyline narrative because she was reading another of the same series, which she proved by nearly leaping to her desk and back to me with the book in hand.

     I shared with the student how I read and write reviews of different kinds of books and said that I was nearly done with this one, indicating that we could swap if she’d like. Indeed, she would like that she said. To my surprise, she finished her book that night and came in the next class excited to swap books with me. We did, we each read the new book, and discussed parts when she arrived to class. At the end of our quasi book club, when she thought we would return each others books, I asked if she’d like to keep it so she could collect the series. She seemed so happy, and we even agreed to obtain the other two books of the series to read and swap when we come back to school in the fall.

     What a great reminder for me to always be reading and model that for my students as a lifelong skill, and what a tremendously timely “gift” from Children’s Literature to unexpectedly “unlock” a student I didn’t know how to reach or bring out of her shell.

Meghan Robertson
Children's Literature

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