Monday, August 25, 2008

Gearing Up

Just noticing that I haven't blogged in awhile. I guess I have been busy entertaining out of town visitors and taking a few short trips myself (must find a picture). Right now I am putting things together for a summer intermediate later literacy institute for this Tuesday and Wednesday so the professional materials have been out! My latest professional reading has been a new International Reading Association publication, Quality Comprehension: A Strategic Model of Reading Instruction Using Read-Along Guides, Grades 3-6 by Sandra K. Athans and Denise Ashe Devine. There are many things I like about this book. I like the specific reading guides that can be used with any text especially those on monitoring comprehension (fix up strategies) and finding word meaning and building vocabulary using context clues. When we look at assessing our students' reading using the RAD, this is still an area that somehow just doesn't get taught sufficiently in many cases. These read along guides provide a good way to do this. By going to the website that I just gave you, you can easily look at and download the study guides. In the book you have specific examples of how these can be used.

Non professionally, I just read an excellent adult novel which is a nice fit for teachers (now is it a coincidence it was a gift from Adrienne Gear?). The novel is Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones, another Commonwealth Prize winner. It is set in Papua New Guinea in the 1990's in a very difficult time when civil war breaks out and the village that Matilda, the 13 year old protagonist lives in, is basically cut off from the rest of the world. All the expatriots have left, and the one remaining white man in the village agrees to be the teacher. His text is Dicken's Great Expectations. I think I will leave it there, but a great read.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summer Reading

I just finished reading a great prize winning novel, The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill. I loved it and found it somehow the perfect read prior to the American election. In an entertaining way, Hill describes the journey of one slave girl from Mali to South Carolina to New York City to Nova Scotia back to Sierre Leone and then finally to England where she assists the Abolishionist movement. This novel was written with careful and extensive research, a great combination of history and story. Lawrence Hill is a very interesting man, son of a black father and a white mother, civil rights pioneers in Ontario, who married in Washington D.C. in the 50's and immediately moved to Toronto where his father, Daniel Hill III was doing his doctorate. And if that name sounds familiar, Lawrence's brother is songwriter, Dan Hill. If your book club needs a book, I totally recommend it! Also good reading for senior high school students.
The picture has nothing to do with the book- I wrote this entry from my deck!