This comprehensive handbook pretty much covers the waterfront on reading and middle school students, with chapters written by faculty and practitioners from both the fields of education and library science. Beginning with an excellent chapter on the developmental needs and characteristics of young adolescents, the first part of this book focuses on all types of readers-reluctant, gifted, struggling, and ESL. The second section contains chapters on instructional techniques and strategies to encourage student response to reading including reader-response, readers' workshops, literature discussion groups, literature circles, and dialectic journals. Sections III, IV, and V address reading comprehension materials (audiobooks, CD-ROMs, and computer use) and staff development. Included is an excellent chapter on assessment and a chapter on selection aids. At the end of each chapter is a list of references and a separate list of trade books cited; several of the chapters contain lists of recommended book titles. Nice features include a table of contents that contains a short paragraph describing each chapter, and excellent indexes of trade books cited by author, title, and subject. Although each chapter is written by a different author or authors, each refers to other chapters, giving this book the feel of a unified text not often found in edited works. This can be read cover-to-cover, or readers can pick and choose topics of interest. This title is indispensable for middle grade language arts and reading teachers and should be part of the professional collection of every middle school. School library media specialists will also find some of the chapters useful and certainly should be aware of what is covered in this book. Index. Charts. Biblio.
School Library Journal
In this excellent handbook, 24 experts from the fields of reading theory, library science, response theory, children's literature, and middle school philosophy present strategies, describe programs, and provide lists that foster academic success and a lifelong love of reading. The essays are divided into five broad categories. "A Focus on Middle School Students" looks at developmental stages, reluctant readers, gifted pupils, strategies to reach struggling readers, and understanding the needs of ESL students. "A Focus on Response" covers reader-response theory, thematic units, promoting book discussion, setting up literature circles, and using dialectical journals to build literary response. The next section discusses ways to aid comprehension, the benefits of reading aloud, strategies for reading instructional texts, and reading assessment. A chapter on materials surveys different types of literature as well as CD-ROMs and the Internet. "A Focus on Teachers" presents a model for effective continuing professional development and gives an overview of selection aids that will help educators connect students to books. A list of "Trade Books Cited" provides bibliographic information. A must-have for all middle school teachers, librarians, curriculum coordinators, and administrators.-Joan Hamilton, Pierce School, Brookline, MA