Talk About Books!


Book clubs, literature circles, and reading groups are great ways to promote literacy and books to young readers. This new guide provides everything you need to run a dynamic, no-fuss book discussion group with elementary and middle school students. Featuring 15 titles of diverse genres, it offers discussion topics and activity ideas for some of the best new reads for kids.

Brought to you by the authors of the highly acclaimed Reading Rules! Motivating Teens to Read, this guide ...

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Book clubs, literature circles, and reading groups are great ways to promote literacy and books to young readers. This new guide provides everything you need to run a dynamic, no-fuss book discussion group with elementary and middle school students. Featuring 15 titles of diverse genres, it offers discussion topics and activity ideas for some of the best new reads for kids.

Brought to you by the authors of the highly acclaimed Reading Rules! Motivating Teens to Read, this guide is an outstanding resource for starting and running a stellar literary discussion group—whether it's in a school, public library, or community center. Grades 4-8.

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Editorial Reviews

Talk about a great resource! Knowles and Smith effectively pool their experience and insight to create this everything-you-need guide to connecting youth and books. Each of the fifteen chapters focuses on a different book that serves as a prototype for a particular subject or genre. For example, Richard Peck's A Long Way from Chicago (Dial, 1998/VOYA December 1998) introduces historical fiction, humor, and the Great Depression. Each focal book is briefly summarized, followed by a bit of biographical information about its author. Then a list of discussion questions is offered, and it is here that the book really shines. The questions nicely probe both concrete and abstract understanding of the book, as in the Peck chapter that includes the questions: "Do you know anyone who acts like Joey?" and "Why do you think this book won the Newbery award?" In addition, each chapter includes activities for all areas of the curriculum, an annotated list of related books, an annotated list of the author's other works, dozens of Web site suggestions, and the publisher's information. The authors have gathered an interesting assortment of titles. Some are expected books, such as Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn Dixie (Candlewick, 2000), and some are pleasant surprises, such as Tom Bodett's Williwaw! (Knopf, 1999) and Jan Greenberg's Heart to Heart (Harry N. Abrams, 2001/VOYA August 2001). There is a fabulous Shakespeare chapter, highlighting Michael Rosen's William Shakespeare: His Work and His World (Candlewick, 2001/VOYA October 2002). The related titles are generally quite good, although sometimes they seem more suitable to readers older than the suggested age group. For this reason, this professionalresource could also be effectively used with high school students, particularly disinclined readers who appreciate lighter text. 2003, Greenwood, 150p.; Index. Biblio. Source Notes. Further Reading., $30 pb. Ages 17 to Adult.
—Diane Emge
Knowles, director of staff development at a Boca Raton, FL school and a former elementary school teacher, and Smith, a media specialist at the same school, have teamed up to provide a valuable guide to running book discussion groups with upper elementary and middle school students. They provide discussion topics and activity ideas for 15 recent YA titles in various genres: Night Hoops, by Carl Deuker; Heart to Heart, ed. by Jan Greenberg; Flipped, by Wendelin Van Draanen; A Long Way from Chicago, by Richard Peck; Among the Hidden, by Margaret Peterson Haddix; A Time Apart, by Diane Stanley; Pharaoh's Daughter, by Julius Lester; Rowan of Rin, by Emily Rodda; William Shakespeare, by Michael Rosen; Williwaw!, by Tom Bodett; Skeleton Man, by Joseph Bruchac; Ties That Bind, Ties That Break, by Lensey Namioka; Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo; Lord of the Deep, by Graham Salisbury; and Monster, by Walter Dean Myers. For each title, there is an introduction, a book summary, information on the author, discussion questions, detailed "content area connections" with suggested activities, and lists of annotated titles about related themes, other titles by the author, teacher resources and Web sites. Web sites about authors and author photos, as well as publisher contact information, are helpfully included. Knowles and Smith even suggest a suitable snack to accompany the discussion of each title! I wish recommended grade levels had been indicated, however; e.g., Monster, which is about a murder trial, is more suitable for 7th grade than for 4th grade. The information on each book issuccinctly expressed and clearly laid out, and while intended to support literature circles this will also be of use to classroom teachers presenting these titles as well as to librarians giving booktalks. An appendix offers a list of annotated professional resources. KLIATT Codes: P-Recommended. 2003, Libraries Unltd., Greenwood, 148p. illus. index., Ages adult.
— Paula Rohrlick
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591580232
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/5/2000
  • Pages: 162
  • Age range: 9 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

ELIZABETH KNOWLES, Ed.D. received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Central Connecticut State University, a master's degree in Reading from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and an Ed.D. in Curriculum Development and Systemic Change, also from Nova Southeastern University. Liz has been an elementary teacher, grades K-6, for 30 years. She has also been an adjunct professor, teaching graduate courses in reading, at Florida Atlantic University. She currently serves as Director of Professional Development and Curriculum for both campuses (Ft. Lauderdale and Boca Raton) of Pine Crest School in Florida.

MARTHA SMITH received her undergraduate degree in Library Science from Eastern Michigan University and a master's degree of education in Library Science from the University of South Florida. Martha has been a media specialist for over 20 years in the Pre-K through 8th grade setting and is currently serving as Library Media Specialist at Pine Crest School, Boca Raton, Florida.

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Table of Contents

1 Night Hoops by Carl Deuker - Basketball 1
2 Heart to Heart edited by Jan Greenberg - Poetry and Art 9
3 Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen - Relationships and Friendships 17
4 A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck - The Great Depression 25
5 Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix - The Future 33
6 A Time Apart by Diane Stanley - Archaeology 43
7 Pharaoh's Daughter by Julius Lester - Ancient Egypt 51
8 Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda - Dragons and Quests 59
9 William Shakespeare by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Robert Ingpen - William Shakespeare 67
10 Williwaw! by Tom Bodett - Alaska 75
11 Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac - Native American Legends 83
12 Ties That Bind, Ties That Break by Lensey Namioka - China 93
13 Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo - Dogs and Pets 103
14 Lord of the Deep by Graham Salisbury - Honesty and Values 113
15 Monster by Walter Dean Myers - Crime and Moviemaking 121
Annotated Professional Resources 131
Index of Titles and Authors 137
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