The authors detail actual classroom dialouges that show how foster children's literay development thorugh such activites as forming teacher and student book clubs, teaching and using webbing and language charts, and exploring literature through drama and art.
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Nancy Roser and Miriam Martinez capitalize on our tendency to talk and show us how to turn talk into valuable classroom currency. We discovered long ago that silent classrooms are not the best kind for learning: children talk to learn, teachers talk to teach. The wealth of resources Nancy and Miriam provide focuses on classroom talk about book-related topics. They encourage "book talk"; the "beyond" is what happens when rich, fulfilling literature surges into the classroom.
The teachers represented here not only make literature in classrooms available, they make it unavoidable. These teachers initiate literature discussion groups, book clubs, and literature circles -- small groups of students who read a common text and come together to talk about it. Students share the thoughts and feelings that reading a book stimulates. By experiencing a story, students discover literature's potential to illuminate life. They are young travelers on life's road: they learn from mentors and classmates who lead the way or walk beside them through literature...
Writers in this volume emphasize the importance of children observing the way adults think and learn. Children learn from seeing demonstrations of higher level thinking and observing informed responses to literature. Teachers need to be a part of literature discussion groups so they can "shoot literary arrows" guiding students toward intertextual links and more literary ways of responding to books.
Read and enjoy the conversations in this book. Talk with you colleagues about the ideas presented here. Invite your students into conversations about books and what they mean -- the same way these writers have done for us.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Spaces and Places (from chapter 1)
It takes both ingenuity and strong arms to keep a classroom well supplied with books, and those qualities are equally useful in arranging a room's actual physical environment. Every literature-friendly classroom I have visited has some fixed space for books, such as a library corner, or special shelving. Frequently, however, the books that are most current to the work of that class are displayed somewhere else. Although shelves make efficient storage, they hide the enticing covers that attract students. Consequently, the books that teachers want children to notice appear cover forward on chalk troughs, windowsills, cabinet tops, and tables. The spaces they occupy may be related to their content or to their purpose within the classroom. Bruce McMillan's "Mouse Views" lies open in one first grade classroom beside the gerbil cage; in another it stands with Gail Harman's "As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps" alongside a half-finished map of the school.
Making space for interacting with books is as important as finding places for the books themselves. Most of the teachers I know, taking a cue from the habits of readers in non-school settings, make an effort to provide comfortable and inviting places where children can browse, read, or gather to hear read-alouds. Bright rugs, soft pillows, rocking chairs, carpeted platforms, and sturdy lofts with wooden ladders -- the form of these enticements depends on resources and inventiveness (and sometimes local fire codes), but the simplest may be as effective as the most elaborate in making the point that reading is a pleasurable, natural activity.
Teachers also recognize the collaborative nature of responding by finding space for children to read, talk and work together. In older buildings, space has been commandeered from coat rooms, alcoves, and wide hallways for small group discussions, practicing Readers Theatre, mural making, and many other activities. Most teachers, however, make spaces by arranging -- and frequently rearranging -- desks, tables, and bookcases or cabinets, which gives children room to work in pairs or small groups of various sizes.
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