Review Blog

Jun 01 2009

Read and reflect: literature discussion in small groups by Dee Clements and Sally Godinho

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Curriculum Press, 2009.
Highly recommended. Book clubs for children! Dee Clements and Sally Godinho have developed a model for a 'Classroom book club' which gives primary school children the chance to explore literature by sharing their ideas about a text. Both authors are experienced and thoughtful practitioners whose understanding of literature and teaching are evident throughout the book.
The objectives and organisation of the model are explained in brief statements followed by dot points. The model's relevance to critical literacy, Bloom's taxonomy and De Bono's six thinking hats is neatly summarised. Strategies for guiding discussions are set out in clear, user-friendly language which will be appreciated by teachers, support staff and volunteers alike. Reproducible assessment and reflection tasks have been prepared for students and teachers. The structure of the program is logical, clearly explained and educationally sound.
Two aspects of this resource give it broad appeal. Firstly, the frameworks for discussion are based on themes not specific titles. While lists of recommended books are provided, some with brief reviews, the model itself will not date. Reproducible pages are generic. Teachers can return to the book for guidance time and again, knowing that the model will retain its relevance and value even if they select different titles. Secondly, insightful sections on 'Small group discussion', 'Building group skills' and 'Creative questioning' can be applied across the curriculum.
Read and reflect is an unassuming title for a book which combines a framework for enriching literature study with an unwavering focus on successful classroom organisation. It is one of those books which teachers can trust when they plan their guided reading programs because it has been written by authors who know what works in the classroom.
Elizabeth Bor

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