With the exception of some classroom sets, all books reviewed here are available on loan from the Margaret Wilson Library at the College. Contact Olivia Hamilton at library@oct.ca or call 416-961-8800, ext. 679, or toll-free in Ontario 1-888-534-2222, ext. 679.

An Educator’s Guide to Special Education Law
By Brenda J. Bowlby, Catherine Peters & Martha McKinnon
Reviewed by Eileen C. Winter

In 1980, the Education Amendment Act placed special education and its attendant policies and regulations firmly at the front door of every school in Ontario. Since that time, school boards have been mandated to provide appropriate programs and services for all children with special needs.

Special Education, like all other areas of education, is governed by a set of legal requirements that are often complex to understand, demanding for educators and frequently misinterpreted and misunderstood.

This book provides accurate, concise and understandable information for all. It is a must for any educator involved with children who have additional and special needs, and an excellent required text for all those who wish to become school or system administrators.

The authors, all practising lawyers with specific expertise and interest in special education, provide essential information on all the legal processes involved in special education in Ontario. They contend that an understanding of the legal process overall will lead to better-informed decision-making along the way.

They present a legal framework for special education, followed by the administrative framework within which superintendents, principals and teachers must operate. Subsequent chapters deal with the whole range of special education procedures from the identification of a student as "exceptional" right through to the appeal processes, tribunal decisions and judicial reviews.

The law is used as the guiding principle throughout the book and each element of the legislation is footnoted. Although adhering strictly to legal interpretations, the material is not overwhelming. Especially useful are the cases the authors cite that have led to landmark legal decisions and which have impacted on the education system.

With this excellent resource on their desks, all educators should be well prepared to deal with special education law. I have already used it countless times in my own practice. One minor suggestion for future editions would be to reflect the provincial nature of education acts and regulations by adding "in Ontario" to the title.

An Educator’s Guide to Special Education Law; Aurora, 2001; ISBN 0-88804-341-4; softcover, 198 pages; Canada Law Book; 1-800-263-3269; fax 905-841-5085.

Eileen Winter is a faculty member in the Department of Human Development & Applied Psychology, OISE/UT. Her teaching and research interests focus on special education.

Fabulous Female Physicians (The Women’s Hall of Fame Series)
By Sharon Kirsh with Florence Kirsh
Reviewed by Brenda Dillon

Fabulous Female Physicians is a collection of 10 engaging biographies of women doctors. The collection begins with Dr. Emily Stowe, Canada’s first female physician, and progresses in roughly chronological order to Dr. Nadine Caron, the first native woman to graduate from the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine.

Fabulous Female Physicians is one of three books (so far) in the Women’s Hall of Fame Series. The other titles are Amazing Women Athletes, by Jill Bryant, and Super Womenin Science, by Kelly Di Domenico. All three books have the same structure—a historical overview of women in the field followed by 10 biographies. From cover design to text features, the format is also consistent across the three titles. Each has a glossary to help students with unfamiliar vocabulary (for example, Fabulous Female Physicians has a glossary of medical terms).

Written for Grade 4 to 8 students, this series would also be suitable for older students reading below grade level or learning English. Fabulous Female Physicians and the other titles in this series are well worth adding to every elementary and secondary school library.

Fabulous Female Physicians; Toronto, 2001; ISBN: 1-896764-43-6; softcover, 100 pages, $10.95; Second Story Press, 416-537-7850; fax 416-537-0588; e-mail: sales@secondstorypress.on.ca; www.secondstorypress.on.ca.

Brenda Dillon is the teacher-librarian at Philip Pocock Catholic Secondary School, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

Students at Risk—Solutions to Classroom Challenges
By Cheryll Duquette
Reviewed by Mary S. Martin

Sooner or later all classroom teachers work with students who are gifted in specific areas or at risk academically or behaviourally. University of Ottawa professor Cheryll Duquette offers many practical suggestions to help new and experienced teachers adapt their teaching to accommodate today’s diverse and increasingly challenging student population.

Students at Risk is a practical resource, conveniently organized into two sections. Part A outlines the process of working with students. Through careful observation based on a four-step problem-solving framework, teachers learn to implement an action plan for student success. The recommended process provides the tools for teachers to become thoughtful interpreters of student behaviour and implementers of an action plan based upon collected evidence.

Part B reviews various exceptionalities such as learning disabilities, giftedness, behavioural dis-abilities and several low incidence disorders such as autism and Asperger’s synddrome. This section is a particularly useful reference when a teacher is puzzled by the complexity of a particular child and unsure how to proceed.

Duquette offers specific recommendations to help the classroom teacher detect and plan for student needs. The text includes illustrative case studies and practical checklists for teacher observations. Student forms are included for organizing written compositions, completing novel studies and implementing independent enrichment plans. Specific strategies for various exceptionalities provide teachers with a solid foundation from which to evolve appropriate programming.

Students at Risk—Solutions to Classroom Challenges; Markham, 2002; ISBN 1055138-135-4; softcover, 160 pages, $18.95; Pembroke Publishers; 1-905-477-0650; fax 905-477-3691; deborah@Pembroke publishers.com; www.pembrokepublishers.com.

Mary Martin is a Grade 8 teacher at Fletcher’s Creek School with the Peel District School Board.

Come on Everybody, Let’s Sing (Revised Edition)
by Lois Birkenshaw-Fleming
Reviewed by Mary Hookey

Elementary classroom teachers and music specialists alike will welcome this revised edition of Come On Everybody, Let’s Sing! The reason is simple; Lois Birkenshaw-Fleming’s large collection of songs, poems and activities has long proven useful for regular and special classes in elementary schools. Birkenshaw-Fleming provides many lesson plans and suggestions for promoting musical growth and general development through activities that foster music enjoyment. The updated book contains a revised set of references. It also comes with two CDs—a bonus for teachers who want to hear a professional performance of unfamiliar songs or to teach occasionally using a recording.

Songs have been chosen for their appeal, their link to curriculum themes, and their support of developmental and musical concepts. Selection is easy and songs and poems contain suggestions for skill and concept development. A wide range of suggestions assist with music planning and teaching, and there are clear tips for teaching techniques from starting a song, to teaching for pattern recognition and sequencing. Helpful appendices where songs, poems and activities are cross-referenced with music elements, such as rhythm, pitch, form and dynamics, add value to this book.

Birkenshaw-Fleming is an acknowledged expert in music and special education with an international reputation as a teacher and clinician. She has included detailed explanations of various learning challenges such as hearing loss, visual impairment and learning disabilities. Each explanation is accompanied by practical suggestions for inclusion. Teachers will welcome this revision, whether they are teaching their own music or working with a music specialist to teach about music and through music.

The book has also been adapted and translated for French-language classrooms as Épanouissons-nous par la musique by Marcelle Corneille.

Come on Everybody Let’s Sing; Miami, 2002; ISBN 0-7692-9966-2; Wiro-binding, 332 pages, US$44.95 (includes two CDs); Warner Bros. Publications U.S. Inc.;
305-620-1500; fax 305-621-4869.

Mary Hookey was an associate professor at the faculty of education, Nipissing University. She is now retired.

Visual Strategies for Improving Communication: Volume 1: Practical Supports for School and Home
By Linda A. Hodgdon
Reviewed by Elizabeth Starr

One of autism’s defining features is a qualitative impairment in verbal and non-verbal communication. Many aspects of communication fall within this heading but one area students with autism usually have great difficulty with is comprehension. Linda Hodgdon’s practical book addresses and explains the comprehension difficulties involved in autism and shows how the use of concrete visual strategies can help make a confusing world more understandable.

Hodgdon describes how to make and use various visual tools to give information and effective directions, organize the environment, mediate communication between environments in a way that students can participate, and how to use visual tools in the wider community to enhance communication.

Teachers who use the suggested strategies will find that they not only benefit students with autism, but other students too.

Visual Strategies for Improving Communication: Volume 1: Practical Supports for School and Home; Troy, Michigan: 1999;. ISBN 0-9616786-1-5; softcover, 222 pages, US$39.95; QuirkRoberts Publishing; 248-879-2598; fax 248-879-2599; e-mail: quirkrobertspublishing@home.com; www.usevisualstrategies.com.

Elizabeth Starr is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers and an associate professor at the faculty of education, University of Windsor, specializing in autism research.

INFO-KIDS: How to Use Nonfiction to Turn Reluctant Readers into Enthusiastic Learners
By Ron Jobe and Mary Dayton-Sakar
Reviewed by Lynn Fraser

I had such high hopes for this book. I was looking for a book that would be hands-on, practical and highly usable in the classroom. Alas, this is not it.

Authors Ron Jobe and Mary Dayton-Sakari point out quite rightly that students who are reluctant readers might simply be reluctant to read what we provide them. Boys in particular are not usually drawn to the fiction that is most often used in middle schools. They may instead avidly seek books on dinosaurs, rockets and sports. With this type of reading they might develop strengths in basic comprehension and word recognition skills but lack predicting abilities.

Instead, the book is an extended reading list of books the authors recommend. Worse, many of their suggestions are not well thought out or even wise. For instance, they encourage teachers to create personal web sites for students to promote reading, but offer no suggestions other than to search other sites for ideas. They also recommend telling students to include a scanned photo and personal information about themselves—an unwise and even dangerous notion.

It’s a waste of a wonderful idea.

INFO-KIDS: How to Use Nonfiction to Turn Reluctant Readers into Enthusiastic Learners, Toronto, 2002; ISBN 1-55138-143-5; softcover, 128 pages, $18.95; Pembroke Publishers; 905-477-0650; fax 905-477-3691; mary@pembrokepublishers.com; www.pembrokepublishers.com.

Lynn Fraser teaches at Centennial Senior Public School in Brampton.

Blue Bananas
Published by Crabtree Publishing Company, St. Catharines
Reviewed by Marjan Glavac

Blue Bananas is a set of 12 books containing high-interest short stories for students reading at a Grade 2 level. They do an excellent job of preparing students to go from picture books to beginning chapter books.

Full colour illustrations appear on every page. Clear, double-spaced type and speech bubbles make it easy for both children and adults to read aloud. Together, the books cover a wide range of themes from friendship, physical disabilities and keeping promises to problem solving and celebrating individual differences.

Young readers will love the suspense and the surprising twist at the end of many of these page-turners. For those just learning the magic of reading, books in the Blue Bananas series are a delight to see and read.

Blue Bananas; St. Catharines, 2002; For ISBN numbers, please go to www.oct.ca; each book is 48 pages, softcover $7.16, hardcover $18.36; Crabtree Publishing Company, 905-682-5221; fax 905-682-7166; www.crabtreebooks.com.

Marjan Glavac is a Grade 5 teacher at Wilfrid Jury Public School in London.


Our apologies to reviewer Xavier Fazio whose name was incorrectly spelled in the September issue. Mr. Fazio reviewed the book Take an Ecowalk to Explore Science Concepts.

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