Some of My Best Friends Are Books - review
The author builds a strong case for differentiation in reading starting as early as kindergarten. Those children who enter school already reading may lose their love of reading if forced to follow a typical kindergarten or first grade reading program. Children who don't get challenged in school miss out on learning study skills and perseverance. They may get to high school or college and struggle with actually having to work at academics for the first time.
There is a good deal of information on how to organize book clubs for gifted readers. The author states, “ Children should also be relatively close in ability level. As with academic programs for the gifted, a book discussion group that combines students in the moderately gifted range with those who are highly gifted will probably fail to meet the needs of the highly gifted members; it would be better to have a separate group for them if possible.” The ideal number of participants is noted as six to eight children.
The part of the book which I know I will return to again and again is the annotated bibliography. Of course, this section has been brought up to date and now contains information on all sorts of recently published books. The first Harry Potter book hadn't yet hit the shelves when the last edition of SOMBFAB was written! Books are arranged here by approximate grade level and noted for what issues it raises. “Shadow of a Bull” for instance, is described with a brief synopsis, and noted for the following discussion points: drive to understand, identity, intensity, using ability. Each of these points has a few lines of comments and questions to ask. I have listed a representative book from each level below. Grade levels are categorized as:
for the very young / Goodnight Moon
age 2-3 / Owl Babies
age 4 / Anno's Counting Book
grades K-2 / Weslandia
grades 3-5 / Millicent Min, Girl Genius
grades 6-8 / The View From Saturday
grades 9-12 / Three Cups of Tea
This is a terrific resource and I'm quite pleased to recommend it. Fans of the older editions should put it on their wish lists, as it has a great deal of valuable new content.
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