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.

The Beginning Reading Handbook: Strategies for Success
By Gail Heald-Taylor
Reviewed by Belinda M. Mooney

The Beginning Reading Handbook: Strategies for Success is a comprehensive, practical manual for developing literacy in children from three to seven years old. While it features best strategies for teaching reading, it also predominantly addresses writing, speaking and listening.

For teachers, a more complete resource book on the foundations of literacy development is unimaginable. Author Gail Heald-Taylor outlines the nature of the early-years child and the interconnections among physical, emotional and intellectual growth and literacy development. The developmental phases of reading maturation are succinctly described with the interests, comprehension levels and reading behaviours of emergent, beginning, developing and independent readers aligned with strategies and types of materials to support reading development. For each reading level, Heald-Taylor provides a developmental reading behaviour inventory and, while acknowledging that children can demonstrate uniquely elastic reading behaviours, she includes a developmental reading test. Each test gives teachers an approximate guide to the child’s apparent functional reading level. Each test includes the required materials; procedure; semantic, syntactical and grapho-phonic prompts; and observations to make.

Heald-Taylor enters into the ongoing debate concerning reading pedagogy. She outlines the basic components of the traditional phonics approach and the balanced approach in which quality literature forms the core of contextual instruction. The author describes the types of literature which are valuable for developing literacy, such as predictable pattern, sequential pattern and cumulative pattern books, repetition books, refrain books, and issue books. Recommended authors and titles are included for each type.

Heald-Taylor explains how the teacher can organize the classroom as an environment that promotes literacy. She gives detailed descriptions of various learning centres with print selections appropriate for each and 66 learning centre activities specifically for promoting literacy development.

Throughout the book reference is made to letters the teacher can send home to keep parents informed about the strategies being used in the classroom. Purchasers of the book can download these ready-to-use letters free from the companion web site.

Also provided are many strategies for communicating with parents to build understanding around literacy development so that parents can continue to help their children. Strategies for sharing curricular information and the child’s progress include curricular outlines and newsletters, multimedia presentations, learning kits and dialogue journals.

Gail Heald-Taylor’s techniques not only help parents and teachers teach children to read, they nurture a lifelong passion for reading.

The Beginning Reading Handbook; Toronto, 2001; ISBN 0-325-00333-5; softcover, 198 pages; Irwin Publishing, 416-798-0424, toll-free 1-800-263-7824; fax 416-798-1384.

Belinda M. Mooney teaches at Lincoln M. Alexander Secondary School.

The Science Alive! Series: Electricity, Heat, Light, Magnets, Motion, Sound
By Darlene Lauw and Lim Cheng Puay
Reviewed by Anne Lefebvre

This new elementary-level science series is a promising resource. Each book examines one aspect of science, such as light or magnets, in an easy-to-follow format. The books are structured so that each scientific concept is demonstrated in a simple experiment, then explained clearly on an ensuing page of interesting facts and history.

56 For example, the Magnets book opens with two engaging but uncomplicated experiments that demonstrate magnetic forces. The subsequent pages then relate the experiments to the theory, beneath headings such as Magnetic Forces, How Was Magnetism Discov-ered?, and Magnets and Pain Relief. Each factual page also includes sections called Quiztime and Did You Know?.

These books correspond with the Ontario Science curriculum at the Grades 3, 4 and6 levels. What makes them appealing is the simplicity of the experiments—they can easily be conducted in a classroom using materials on hand—and the well-organized layout of the fact pages. While they are not a stand-alone resource, both curious students and busy teachers can pick up these books and learn something about science in a handson, captivating way.

Science Alive; St. Catharines, 2002; ISBN—Motion: 0-7787-06044, Heat: 0-7787-0605-2, Light: 0-7787-0606-0; softcover, 32 pages, $8.96 each; Crabtree Publishing, toll-free 1-800-387-7650; toll-free fax 1-800-355-7166.

Anne Lefebvre is on maternity leave from a Grade 4/5/6 position at Calabogie Public School.

Take an Ecowalk to Explore Science Concepts—Grades 1-5
By Sandy Szeto
Reviewed by Xavier Favio

The Science and Technology curriculum encourages educators to relate concepts and skills to the world outside the classroom and to use our local community to explore science and technology ideas. So why not go outside, explore the local natural environment and teach scientific concepts by taking your students on an Ecowalk!

Take an Ecowalk is an outdoor activity-based resource for educators that encourages students to explore and apply scientific concepts through exploration of their natural environment. The Ecowalk activities focus on a specific concept (light, air, water, soil, plants) and provide an outdoor backdrop for integrating these core ideas, and may lead teachers and students on excursions to the schoolyard, local park or wooded area. The 10 Ecowalk activities are not ordinary nature walks; they engage students in using inquiry and design processes while on the walk or back in the classroom as a pre- or post-walk activity. In some activities, students are conducting investigations as they collect and test materials; in others, students design and construct devices to be tested during the walks.

Ecowalk is easily integrated into the Science and Technology curriculum. Curriculum correlations are provided to link each activity with key concepts found primarily in the Life Systems and Earth and Space Systems strands for Grades 1-5. In addition, possible cross-curricular links are also provided. The major components of the resource include:

• Ecowalks plus pre- and post-walk activities
• assessment and evaluation ideas and rubrics
• reproducible student worksheets
• teacher background material
• listings of Internet sites and supplemental resource materials.

Whether you are promoting students’ ecological literacy by discovering their local environment, or introducing a new concept in a hands-on and engaging fashion, Take an Ecowalk to Explore Science Concepts, Grades 1-5 is a useful resource that is flexible, practical and fun for any primary or junior class.

Take an Ecowalk to Explore Science Concepts, Grades 1-5; Toronto, 2001; ISBN 1-55244-027-3; softcover, 96 pages, $21.95; Trifolium Books, 416-483-7211; fax 416-483-3533; e-mail trifoliu@ican.net.

Xavier Favio is a Science and Technology consultant with the Halton Catholic District School Board.

Response Journals Revisited
By Les Parsons
Reviewed by Katherine Wainman

Response journals make infinite sense in the classroom as a valuable learning tool: they are holistic in nature, and they address the integrated and subjective nature of learning.

They can be used in responding to reading, literature and media programs.

Response Journals Revisited contains thought-provoking theory and practical suggestions, uses real life examples from the classroom and provides reproducible blackline masters. I strongly recommend that you make it part of your school’s professional library or your personal professional library. Whether you need practical ideas or food for thought, it satisfies on both counts.

Response Journals Revisited; Markham, 2001; ISBN 1-55138-137-0; softcover, 64 pages, $18.95; Pembroke Publishers; 905-477-0650; fax 905-477-3691.

Katherine Wainman is a teacher-librarian at J. Douglas Hogarth P.S. in Fergus with the Upper Grand District School Board.

Jayden’s Rescue
By Vladimir Tumanov
Reviewed by Anne Lefebvre

Jayden’s Rescue is a math book with a difference. It presents a series of math problems in the form of an adventure story complete with monsters and a captive queen.

It would make a perfect readaloud in any junior-grade classroom. 58 The language is simple without being condescending, and the math problems are written into the text in such a way that the teacher could stop the story and have the class solve the problems together. It offers a unique way to motivate students to tackle mathematical problem-solving.

Jayden’s Rescue is a classic fantasy story with a modern educational twist. It would be a refreshing addition to both the classroom library and the junior-level math program.

Jayden’s Rescue; Markham, 2002; ISBN 0-439-98864-0; softcover, 118 pages, $5.99; Scholastic Canada, 1-800-268-3860 toll-free (anywhere in Canada); toll-free fax 1-800-387-4944; e-mail: custserve@scholastic.ca.

Anne Lefebvre is on maternity leave from a Grade 4/5/6 position at Calabogie Public School.

The Courage to Teach: Honoring the Teacher’s Heart
By Sam M. Intrator
Reviewed by Anne Lefebvre

This collection of essays explores the spirit and drive that inspires individuals to become teachers. Written by teachers who had lost motivation due to the stress common in today’s educational climate, it describes their challenges and triumphs as they struggle to regain their enthusiasm and feel alive in the classroom once more. This enthusiasm is emphasized throughout the book as a necessary element that must be present in all good teachers.

All educators who have ever questioned why they teach would benefit from reading this book. When faced with adversity, getting in touch with our teaching hearts helps us focus on the positive, rewarding aspects of our profession.

The Courage to Teach; New York, 2002; ISBN 0-7879-5632-5; softcover, 320 pages, $35.96; Jossey-Bass/John Wiley, 416 -236 - 4433, fax 416 -236 -8743.

Anne Lefebvre is on maternity leave from a Grade 4/5/6 position at Calabogie Public School.

WHY? The best ever question and answer book about nature, science and the world around you
By Catherine Ripley
Reviewed By Andrea Murik

Why is the sky blue? Why do cows moo? Simple questions—yet often difficult to answer in a way that young children can understand. WHY? The best ever question and answer book about nature, science and the world around you is a colourful and well written collection of many of the questions young children love to ask. It answers of children’s most pressing questions —and it’s a picture book too!

Perfect in a classroom setting or for reading aloud at bedtime to your own child, WHY? gives the answers that parents, teachers and kids want to know.

WHY? The best ever question and answer book about nature, science and the world around you; Toronto, 2001; ISBN 1-894379 -25 -X; softcover, 192 pages, $12.95; Owl Books—Distributed by Firefly Books.

Andrea Murik is a Grade 5 teacher at
James Bolton Public School.

Le leadership en éducation. Plusieurs regards, une même passion
Edited by Lyse Langlois and Claire Lapointe with the collaboration of Claudine Baudoux, Linda Gosselin, Robert J. Starratt, Michel St-Germain and Michel Umbriaco
Reviewed by Lise Presseault

This collective work sets out various perspectives on educational leadership. Each contributor suggests paths to consider in training individuals for leadership roles, all the while noting the lack of relevance of some traditional models with respect to the current realities in school management.

Themes tackled include the concept of spirituality, training for leaders in minority situations, leadership models that are in keeping with a reflective and ethical process, emotions in leadership and taking a constructivist approach to leadership.

This book will be of interest to anyone concerned about leadership in education.

Le leadership en education. Plusieurs regards, une même passion, Montréal; ISBN 2-89461-809-3; softcover, 151 pages, $32.95; Chenelière/McGraw-Hill; 514-273-1066; fax: 514-276-0324.

Lise Presseault is a senior program officer at the Ontario College of Teachers.


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