CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 21 . . . . June 21, 2002
It is always a pleasure to read a book on a topic that deserves greater attention, especially one that is well written, engaging and motivational.
students are fascinated by nonfiction books, and the good news is that,
today, publishers and writers have provided youngsters with innovative
information books that are lively, provocative and stimulating. The
authors' unique approach is to use these nonfiction resources to promote
reading with reluctant students, who are the primary focus here, and
include the obstacles they and their teachers face. Teachers are encouraged
to determine and help develop the primary interests of Info-Kids and
then capitalize on the interests of these students to enhance learning
and literacy. An interesting challenge is posed by the authors - to
design a "parallel curriculum" that meets the needs of students
who have an attraction to facts and information and then to seek out
content which intrigues students. This process will require teachers
to be risk
The book is divided into three sections. Part A deals with the challenge of Info-kids and offers advice in starting with four outstanding resources that have great "kid appeal." Selection criteria and specific elements to look for in nonfiction books are also included. The authors emphasize the importance of teachers using nonfiction resources that are of high quality, up-to-date, and attractive; to use them often in the classroom; to match them to student interests; to encourage students to read these books during USSR; and to promote them in a read aloud program. This section also gives the reader insight as to who these Info-Kids are (defined by the authors as "students who are fascinated by facts.")
Part B details creative strategies for working with eight different types of Info-Kids and includes several case studies that highlight their characteristics and interests, as well as the resources that might lead to success. Jobe and Sakari do a great job of matching different Info-Kids and their wide-ranging interests with specific books. Each of the eight chapters contains a boxed section entitled "Teacher Realities," and these are very helpful in pointing out the essential qualities and instructional strategies needed by teachers.
C deals with a variety of evaluation techniques to determine the answer
to the question, "Are kids reading?" The authors share "secrets
of success." One such secret includes the importance of modeling.
This book is a worthwhile resource that should have a place in all school libraries and should even be on a teacher's own personal book shelf. There are many reasons to highly recommend Info-Kids. The bibliographies of the recommended books are quite current, and many of the outstanding nonfiction books within each section are enthusiastically annotated. The sidebars are interesting and relevant, and they include quotes about nonfiction, comments from teachers, lists of important elements, and thought-provoking questions. The case for bringing "real world interests" into the classroom and using these interests as a tool for increasing literacy is compelling. The advice is timely and practical, and the strategies are creative and doable. The authors also connect technology and the reading of information books to high interest annotated internet sites, which the authors refer to as "cyberspace non-fiction books." Finally, Info-Kids is written in a pleasing, readable, and breezy style, with the authors' passion for their subject apparent on each page.
Reesa Cohen is an Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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