Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Review!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted about reviewing a new book.  I love when people find my blog and contact me about stuff like this!  Not only did they provide me with a free e-book to do the review, but I was able to get a lot of valuable information from the book.

The book is Pam Allyn's Best Books for Boys: How to Engage Boys in Reading in Ways That Will Change Their Lives.  Pam Allyn is a very inspirational lady and is also the founder of LitLife.  Read more about her on her website!

While reading this book, there were a lot of quotes that stood out to me:
“True equality both in the school environment and in the workplace will come when we can embrace differences and affirm them, celebrate them, and move past them.” – page 8
  • I thought this was very meaningful because not everyone seems to be ready to embrace differences.  I think a lot of people notice differences (especially in students), but the important part is to embrace, affirm, and celebrate those differences.  Not only will this help to bring your classroom together as a community of learners, but the students will respect each other!
“For many children, reading is a journey that requires a measure of courage and risk
taking. It is also one of the most deeply satisfying and pleasurable of all human endeavors
and inarguably one of the most profoundly useful. My mission is to help all children achieve
not only functional literacy but transformational literacy. The kind of literacy that will allow
them to learn something new every day, connect to all people everywhere, and to invent
new ideas that could change the world.—And in this process, to learn, through reading,
how to be the kind of person they want to become.” – page 9
  • I really enjoy how you can see Pam Allyn's love of reading come through in some parts of her book.  As a teacher, it is important to model a love of learning.  I like how Pam doesn't just discuss reading as an academic skill, but a lifelong skill that will help our children to succeed and reach their goals.
Using the READ model, there are four essential elements to crafting a reading life: Ritual, Environment, Access, and Dialogue.” – page 13
  • In Part 2 of the book, Pam introduced the READ model.  She goes into detail describing each aspect of the model and how it can help our children to become lifelong readers. 
Part 2 of the book also included a variety of questions with answers from Pam.  I really enjoyed reading these questions and answers and I think they would be beneficial to teachers OR parents!  My favorite question was, "When should I stop reading aloud?" Pam starts off her answer by saying "Never!"  I think this is something that a lot of parents (and sometimes teachers) struggle with.  My mom always read aloud to me and I always enjoyed it.  I remember classmates rolling their eyes when our teachers in middle school would want to read a book to us.  However, I think if you catch the child's interest, it can always be beneficial to read aloud, read together, or just read at the same time.  I am a big advocate for modeling a love of reading!

Part 3 includes suggestions of books for boys on various reading levels including emerging, developing, and maturing.  Allyn includes a brief description of the story and sometimes includes discussion points or similar stories.  She has split up the book lists to be organized by subjects (examples: adventure, comic books/graphic novels, fantasy/imagination, history/historical fiction, etc.) so you can easily find something to interest your boy(s).  I loved this part because I can easily use it as a reference after doing an interest inventory with my students.  The end of part 3 includes additional resources such as magazines and web sites!

In her final thoughts, Pam describes how her reading differs from her husband’s reading.  I found this to be interesting because I talk to my husband about it all the time.  I always wonder why he can’t get into books like I can.  He prefers reading magazines, online articles, or even e-books. He just doesn’t like the old school paper books for some reason.  It used to drive me nuts but as long as he’s reading, I guess it’s all the same!

Overall, I think this book would be a great addition to a teacher's professional development library and I also think that parents would benefit from the purchase of this book!  If you have a boy who is struggling to get into reading, definitely check out the book.  I even think it could be a good idea to look at the book lists in Part 2 with your boy and head over to the library to help motivate him!

The book is available on Amazon for a great price and you can also read the wonderful reviews that Amazon users have left (it has 5 stars)!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!!!

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