Book Love by Penny Kittle

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Genre: Language Arts textbook

Page Count: 174

Publication Date: 2013

Summary: Students are graduating high school without ever having read a book.  The author argues that when students don’t read, it is because they have not yet found a book that engages them and/or they don’t have the necessary reading skills for a particular book. She lists a series of practical steps that can be implemented in any secondary Language Arts classroom to get kids into the habit of reading. She argues that allowing the students to choose their own books, whether or not they are “academic” enough for school, is a major starting point.

Recommended: Yes.  The text is very easy to read and the steps listed are things that the author uses in her own classroom.  She lists several questions that you can use with your students in book conferences to get kids talking about books.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “This is the calling of an English teacher for me: give each student books that teach them, challenge them, and lead them to places they’ll never know otherwise.”   “Invite kids into reading, [do] not force them into it.”

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The English Teacher’s Companion

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Author: Jim Burke

Genre: Language Arts Textbook

Page Count: 373

Publication Date: 2013

Summary: If you teach English Language Arts or are planning to teach English  Language Arts, you absolutely must read this book. The author focuses on writing, reading, speaking and listening, vocabulary, grammar and assessments all within the framework of the Common Core Standards.

Recommended: Definitely. Jim Burke is a recognized author in the field and he includes helpful tips that he has successfully used in his own classrooms.  The book is full of charts and how-to guides that can be modified to fit your students. The book does a superb job of being inclusive and recognizing diverse students.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Here’s my point: You can find inner-city teachers who can get kids of all colors and cultures to read anything, even Moby Dick or Henry V, if you come at it the right way – framing it with questions students want to examine.”       “Writing only academic prose would be the equivalent of eating only protein bars.”