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Brief reviews for August 2007

Cayuso, Emily (2007). Flip for Word Work: Phonics, Spelling and Vocabulary. Gainesville, FL: Maupin House.

Pages: 64     Price: $27.95     ISBN: 978-0-929895-97-0

Flip for Word Work: Phonics Spelling and Vocabulary is a comprehensive activity book focused on providing early learners with strategies that will assist them in becoming better readers. Rather than relying on boring rote lessons, which specifically target the areas of phonics, spelling and vocabulary, this flipbook provides teachers with creative, engaging and challenging activities for all students. Furthermore, Cayuso's savvy approach to the teaching of reading and writing really elevates this flipbook above others. By incorporating multiple intelligence theory with higher ordered thinking skills, and scaffolding the difficulty level of the activities, she provides teachers with an invaluable classroom resource.

As a director of curriculum and instruction, I often spend time searching for resources that improve reading instruction while adhering to a very strict budget. Because the use of a specific text is not required for this book, there is no need to purchase additional material in order to successfully integrate the activities into any elementary school's curriculum. The activities can be modified to meet the needs of any primary classroom. Early language learners, special education students, regular education students, as well as gifted students will become fully engaged in the learning process when teachers apply the strategies in this book.

One of the most creative aspects of this book lies in its design. The reading activities begin with phonics, build to spelling and end with vocabulary. This natural concept progression, which closely mirrors the manner in which young readers acquire literacy skills, gives this flipbook exceptional flow. Through the use of effective teacher modeling, the activities can inspire a sense of wonder and interest in early readers, aspects which are sorely absent from traditional instruction. However, the focus of the flipbook is to provide students with the phonemic awareness, decoding, and vocabulary comprehension skills needed in order to develop the self-confidence that is essential in the creation of independent readers.

Reviewed by Donielle Gary-Burton, Ed.D., Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy in Chicago, Illinois.

Clifford, Tim (2007). The Middle School Writing Toolkit: Differentiated Instruction Across the Content Areas. Gainesville, FL: Maupin House.

Pages: 178     Price: $23.95     ISBN: 978-0-929895-75-8

Tim Clifford, a middle school language arts teacher in New York, brings to market a teacher's guide to organizing the writing classroom with The Middle School Writing Toolkit: Differentiated Instruction Across the Content Areas. The ten chapters are divided into three sections. The first three chapters address the unique challenges of middle school writers, as they adjust to working with as many as eight different teachers, all with their own curriculum and style of delivery. Teachers too face the challenge of meeting the needs of peer- driven students with widely varying writing competencies. Clifford's middle school experience prepares him well for setting up any classroom as a writers' workshop.

The next five chapters differentiate instruction by targeting skill development across content areas. The last two chapters model skill lessons, workstation tasks, and a variety of composing techniques with revision strategies. Well-designed rubrics follow workstation lessons and provide both assessment and instruction, as they can be helpful tools in revision. In a final section entitled "Teaching Resources," Clifford includes a variety of assessment and record-keeping worksheets to monitor both individual and class progress.

The toolkit sorts the conventions of writing across content areas into genre and content specific lessons. The lessons are easy to follow, designed as single pages, and address a range of exposition including reports, persuasive essays, and responses to reading. The focus on expository writing instruction supports the middle school curriculum where students are learning to write for a variety of purposes and audiences.

Clifford's methodical approach to skill-based writing instruction gives teachers a way to organize their classrooms for writers' workshop. The workstation and mini-lessons provide practice for adolescent writers experimenting with genre. Taken together, the lessons remind us of the complexity of choices available to writers. Teaching writing is as much about what to say as what not to say. Models included in the text offer techniques such as interesting facts, quotations, and anecdotes to demonstrate writing strategies for students. The teacher guides for instruction include specific tasks with suggestions for where the lesson best fits a curriculum, along with time saving guidelines for assessing each task. If students have opportunities across content classes to write, revise, and practice when and how to use Clifford's tools, writing proficiency has a chance to develop over time.

Teachers will find this a useful resource, especially teachers outside language arts, challenged by organizing writing instruction in their classrooms. While the target audience for the toolkit is middle school content teachers, the workshop design assists teachers at any grade level interested in getting more writing and writing to learn strategies into their curriculum. The tools are here to begin and sustain writing instruction in any classroom, as all teachers become teachers of writing.

Reviewed by Roberta J. Herter, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Education, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA.

Cooper, Mark & Sjostrom, Lisa (2006). Making Art Together: How Collaborative Art-Making Can Transform Kids, Classrooms and Communities. Boston: Beacon Press.

Pages: 152     Price: $26.95     ISBN: 0807066184

Making Art Together by Cooper and Sjostrom (2006) begins by taking us on a journey of Mark Cooper's experience as an art maker turned collaborative art maker-facilitator where he engages the artistry of children of all ages in community and educational settings to demonstrate the power of collaborative art making. This book is written for the generalist or content area teacher who values collaboration and is willing to explore what art has to offer as a source of inspiration and education. Mark Cooper reaches out to the artist and teacher in all of us asking that we endeavor to explore his 5 basic principles of collaborative art making in the classroom. These five principles include: (1) The teacher serving as master artist, (2) Using a framework to maximize the likelihood of success, (3) Working collaboratively throughout, (4) Drawing on the perspectives and techniques of contemporary art, and (5) Tying the artwork to the larger world.

Mark begins his story in a New York kindergarten classroom where he and a kindergarten teacher collaborated on an art project that focused on the Kindergartners' families and included a field trip to each of the 18 student's homes, each time documenting what they saw through painting. The paintings were then arranged on a larger canvas with a border of transcribed dialogue. Each student had a quilted canvas that reflected the class visit to their specific home. Mark's point was that any teacher can use the five principles and effectively incorporate art collaboratively.

Principle I: Master Teacher as Artist (chapter 2) describes the "attitudinal and practical" (p. 16) steps needed to begin. This includes seeing yourself as an artist/master and dismissing the idea that "only special people make art" (p. 20); knowing that the everyday has made you visually literate already, beginning to see, experience, and trust your own "visual sensibilities" (p. 23); having an "anything goes" mentality, and understanding that art making is investigation and discovery. As part of this principle the teacher should create a successful plan, make it exciting (Studio Mystique, p. 29), "commit wholeheartedly to the project," and be a decision maker (pp. 29-30).

Principle 2: Frameworks for Success (chapter 3) reminds teachers that the structure for creating a successful project relies on a "step- by-step" (p. 37) process, having an attitude of success and a physical framework for the project as an organizing principle. This principle also invites us to "think large, think impact, think emotion" (p. 39) using examples such as billboards, murals, numbers, letters, shapes, sculpture, and found objects/forms. Here the most important framework was fun.

Principle 3: Encouraging Collaboration (chapter 4) speaks to the idea that each participant deserves a voice in the process and the process takes time. There needs to be dialogue for decisions to be made and this involves discussion, voting and using teachable moments. The starting point here might begin small, incorporate mini collaborative assignments that grow into the bigger idea, allow reflection and acknowledge success.

Principle 4: The Perspective of Contemporary Art (chapter 5) addresses the idea of challenging students to think beyond the traditional perspectives of how and what art has been in educational settings. This includes as Cooper puts it "aim to blow kids minds with what's possible, what constitutes art, and all of the different approaches they might take" (p. 83). Drawing on his own work he discusses how the perspective of contemporary art draws into collaboration with histories and how meanings change through context.

In Principle 5: Tying Art to the Larger World (chapter 6) Cooper demonstrates how art can be integrated into mainstream curriculum and gives us excellent examples of how this takes place. Examples include themes such as getting along, hope after the Holocaust, freedom of speech, molecular biology, building community, and more. Creating public art takes on new meaning for each group of students.

In Making Art Together Cooper and Sjostrom clearly outline the advantages of using these principles. In this easy to read book, they give hope to those teachers who are not quit sure where to start and define who the stakeholders are in the process. The text clearly outlines the evaluative process, the signs of documentation, and how to close out a ceremony. These authors clearly understand not only art, but how to communicate great teaching. Making Art Together is an EXCELLENT blend of teaching practice, artistic knowledge, and big project know-how! I would recommend this book without reservation to all classroom teachers!

Reviewed by Dr. Heidi C. Mullins, Assistant Professor of Art and Art Education, Eastern Washington University

Duran, Elva (2006). Teaching English Learners in Inclusive Classrooms. Third edition. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

Pages: 471     Price: $92.95(Hardcover) $67.95(Paperback)     ISBN: 978-0-398-07674-0(Hardcover) 978-0-398-07675-7(Paperback)

The subject matter of the updated third edition of Teaching English Learners in Inclusive Classrooms is the teaching of English to learners with mild-moderate to severe disabilities and also learners in culturally and linguistically diverse families. It combines information on Inclusive Education legislation, results of research studies and practical orientation for teachers and families of learners with disabilities, but also for anyone interested in learning more about these learners and Inclusive Education.

The book has a foreword by Bruce Ostertag, Ed.D., a preface by editor Elva Duran, Ph.D. who also authored five chapters, and an introduction by Lou Brown, Ph.D.. Brown explains the reasons for high unemployment rates of learners with disabilities, and makes a number of suggestions for changes in the current educational system, such as the restructuring of high schools, the purchase of services which cannot be provided by the schools from private vendors, and the "finishing school" as a second chance school where students could learn what "is actually necessary to become a productive member of society" (p. xxiii).

The fifteen chapters which follow can be roughly divided into three themes. In the first theme, learners with disabilities, chapters 1 (Creating Inclusive Schools for All Learners), 3 (Functional Language and Other Language Intervention Strategies), 4 (Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds), 5 (Teaching Adolescent Students with Autism and Other Spectrum Disorders) and 6 (Students with Multiple Disabilities) provide a detailed account of legislation to help increase the provision of services to these learners. These chapters provide updates on IDEA (The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004) and the No Child Left Behind Act, information on autism and other disorders and practical strategies drawn from several studies and projects to facilitate learning for students with disabilities.

In the second theme, articles focus on learners in culturally and linguistically diverse families. In chapters 7 (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families), 8 (The Education of Latinos as Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students: a Socio-cultural Perspective), 9 (Teaching Asian American Children), 10 (Education and the Academic Achievement of African American Students) and 14 (The Culturally and Linguistically Different Student) we learn about each one of these groups of learners, whether new or well-settled immigrants, what relationships are like in their home cultures and what can be done to make the schools more welcoming to ethnically diverse students and their families.

In the third group of articles, strategies for teaching English learners, chapters 2 (The Power Language), 12 (Literacy Development), and 15 (Strategies for Teaching English Learners) deal with language and strategies for teaching students with or without disabilities. Also on this theme, chapter 13 (Social Studies Content Made Comprehensible for English Learners With/Without Special Needs) provides special and general education teachers with lots of practical strategies to help English learners to learn Social Studies content through special teaching approaches. Sheltered and adapted instruction are suggested as ways to increase the amount of time for English learning and promote multicultural education.

However difficult it is to highlight a few chapters in this insightful publication, the following chapters are worth a special mention here:

Chapter 1 covers legislation on Inclusive Education over the past forty or fifty years within schools across the USA and how they have gradually adopted Cooperative Learning to encourage interaction among all students. This chapter also explores the principles of Universal Design and how it has been used to redesign the school curriculum in order to accommodate all learners, regardless of their abilities.

Chapter 7, entitled Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families, is one of the new chapters in this updated edition. Readers learn what legislation says about these learners and their families. The chapter also provides a definition of diverse families, the meaning of disability in various cultures and consequently its likely impact is on affected families, and finally what steps can be taken in order to bridge the gap between these families and the schools. Again, collaboration is seen as the ultimate goal of any program of Inclusive Education.

Nearly all the chapters discussing strategies for teaching English learners are a must read for all English language teachers interested in getting better at what they do and who wish to make a positive contribution to their learners, with or without disabilities. Chapter 12 gets a mention here because it is succinct and a pleasure to read, being an account of all the phases and factors involved in becoming literate. The basics of phonological awareness, decoding and word recognition, vocabulary development, fluency, comprehension and writing are described through various types of exercises and activities.

As a suggestion for a future edition, a list of acronyms would help readers preview and familiarize themselves with this shorthand right from the start. The reorganization of chapters into sections by theme as suggested above would help readers establish easier connections among the chapters, and smoothen the flow of reading over the book as a whole.

Finally, a few recurrent messages in this volume are as follows:

  • Inclusion Education is beneficial to all learners with or without disabilities and consequently to creating a more equal and strong society for all;
  • Families of learners with or without disabilities play a crucial role in strengthening the provision of Inclusive Education services;
  • Collaboration among learners, between families and schools/work place and among school staff is key to any successful Inclusive Education program;
  • Teachers and other professionals in Education should be slower and more careful at passing judgment on parents;
  • Following up on the above, all teachers, Special Needs and General Education, need to be offered on-going training and opportunities to meet and share during their weekly work load;
  • Very often very little adaptation and small changes in the school and work environment are what is needed to make learners with disability succeed in their tasks.

Nevertheless, the single message across all the articles in this unique volume can be summarized as the need for more sensitivity to culturally and linguistically diverse learners, with or without disabilities, to help create a better environment for everyone, including our families, friends and communities.

For all the reasons above, Teaching English Learners in Inclusive Classrooms will fit nicely into a recommended book list of any course on Inclusive Education and also into any Teacher Education program.

Reviewed by Ana Falcao, Cultura Inglesa Sergipe, Educational Co- ordinator, Aracaju, NE Brazil

Fisher, Douglas & Frey, Nancy (2007). Scaffolded Writing Instruction: Teaching with a Gradual-Release Framework. New York: Scholastic.

Pages: 160     Price:     ISBN: 978-0-439-69649-4

In Scaffolded Writing Instruction: Teaching with a Gradual- Release Framework, Fisher and Frey want to revive the teaching of writing so that it receives the instructional time and attention in the classroom that it deserves. Most teachers would agree with the rhetorical question, "We all know readers who can't write, but do we know writers who can't read?" (p. 6). Fisher and Frey argue that while reading is important, so too is writing. Moreover, reading and writing are interrelated and if students' writing skills are improved, their reading skills will also likely improve.

While Fisher and Frey believe that systematic writing instruction is important, they challenge the frequently used five-step writing process: prewriting, writing, revising, editing, and publishing. According to the authors, this five step process is problematic for three reasons: writing is not a linear process but instead recursive; not every writing piece needs or should be published; and the process gives little information to teachers about their instructional role during each of the five steps. Fisher and Frey are also critical of formulaic writing instruction, such as the popular "hamburger paragraph" model. These types of formulaic writing models seem to be growing in usage in schools but serve little purpose in authentic writing tasks: "When was the last time you read a hamburger paragraph on the editorial page of your favorite newspaper?" (p. 91).

Instead, the book provides a flexible framework for systematic writing instruction that uses two key components: scaffolding writing skills for students though teaching, and through using the writing workshop model. Teachers model and support new writing skills while students work towards using these new skills independently. In their framework, Fisher and Frey present six key instructional approaches that vary in the level of teacher support required. The first two approaches are forms of shared writing: the language experience approach wherein the teacher and the students create a text and the teacher acts as a scribe, and interactive writing, during which the teacher and the students share the pen and the responsibility of writing. In order to increase writing fluency, power writing (also commonly referred to as quick writing) is an approach which allows students and the teacher to track fluency over time. Generative writing is another approach to teaching writing. It uses teacher prompts but its focus is on syntax, grammar, and sentence construction. The use of writing models is an approach in which the students rely less on the teacher and instead use previously written texts to serve as models to write their own. Independent writing is the final approach in which the students write a text on their own with the teacher providing minimal support but still acting as a consultant and coach. Within each of the six approaches, Fisher and Frey provide examples that describe how the workshop approach (focus lessons with the whole class, guided instruction with small groups, collaborative learning and independent learning) should be used to support this gradual-release framework.

There are many strengths that make Scaffolded Writing Instruction a worthwhile resource for teachers. First, the chapter on assessment and feedback provides many practical ideas for assessment as well as reproducible masters of rubrics, checklists, and tracking tools. This chapter also includes ideas on how to improve peer feedback on writing to make it more meaningful. Another highlight of the book is the chapter on generative writing which contains many creative and innovative methods of reinforcing and improving syntax, style, and grammar in students' writing. This instructional approach may be unfamiliar to many readers, but is clearly explained so that any teacher can implement it in his or her classroom.

Throughout the book, Fisher and Frey provide samples of actual student writing to bring the concepts and instructional approaches to life. In the margins throughout the book, tips and ideas about the approaches provide the reader with additional resources and information. Scaffolded Writing Instruction also includes many classroom vignettes so that the reader can gain a clearer understanding of how the approaches are implemented in a real classroom setting. While the back cover of the book states that these vignettes are from "grades 3-5 classrooms," they actually consist of higher grade examples as well, including grade 8. The book is very well organized and one of its particular strengths is that each chapter explains how the instructional approach is used within the different groupings of students in the writing workshop, such as whole class and small groups.

Overall, Scaffolded Writing Instruction is a book that could help many teachers transform their writing programs. Fisher and Frey have created a writing framework that complements balanced reading programs to create a truly balanced literacy program. While the book has many ideas that could be used in primary classrooms, it is primarily for use by teachers of grades 3-8. For many teachers, teaching writing can be daunting and difficult to implement; thus, many teachers rely on the traditional five-step writing process model. Fisher and Frey provide junior and middle school teachers with an alternative research-based framework for teaching writing that is practical and that supports students as they become proficient and independent writers.

Reviewed by Kristen Ferguson, Assistant Professor of Language Arts at the Faculty of Education at Nipissing University and doctoral student in Education at York University.

Fullan, Michael (2006). Turnaround Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.

Pages: 113     Price: $22.00     ISBN: 978-0-7879-6985-1

Fullan writes, "The real reform agenda is societal development. Not in an abstract sense, but empirically. Not in broad strokes, but through identifying precise themes and their consequences for better or for worse."(pg. 1) His book Turnaround Leadership discusses the need for education to play a constructive, proactive and responsible role in the development of an equitable society.

Fullan strengthens his presentation by using specific examples. The book is also embedded with references to recent reform bringing about sustainable change within entire state systems; these references provide depth as well as validity to his goal — to turn a system around by substantially raising the bar and closing the gap in educational performance, while realizing that this is part of a larger goal to reduce the income differential in society as whole (p. 97). His strong belief is that there must be a unified agenda which goes beyond bringing about change at the school level and instead calls for working towards system transformation with its major goal being to reduce income and education gaps. Fullan believes this is the true calling for education in the twenty-first century.

In Chapter One, Fullan outlines the state of society within the developed world. He uses references from Wilkinson's research study (2005) to show that the core problem in most developed countries is differential social status amongst groups. He ties in the role of education in reducing this disparity. In his words, "Reducing the gap as you raise the economic bar makes economic sense" (pg.7). Using findings from the economist Heckman (2006), Fullan states his argument. "First, focus on the societal problem of income differential and employ direct community-based short-term and long-term strategies. Second, conceive of education as playing a role in gap-closing, especially as we shall see by working intensely on the three basics of literacy, numeracy, and what I will call the well-being of the students" (pp.9- 10). Using the results from the OECDÕs project PISA 2000 (2001), Willm's study of vulnerable children (2002) and Berliner's study of poverty (2006), Fullan proposes that in order to produce turnaround schools one must work with a greater understanding of the social context and its consequences on mental and physical well-being.

In Chapter Two Fullan focuses on turnaround leadership to move reforms beyond the initial improvement from awful to adequate. He advocates that strategies need to be in place to move them onwards from adequate to good or great schools. He agrees that the initial steps taken to bring about change in schools such as new leadership, closer attention to assessments, support from experts and specialists and an accelerated adoption of new programs, projects or strategies are essential. Fullan agrees with Kanter's (2004) turnaround solution identifying accountability, collaboration and initiative as essential elements for capacity building with a focus; which essentially means getting the schools to work on continued improvement and reform by understanding the mysteries of how people and systems change (p.33).

Chapter Three, provides the basis for change and then the process to make change a permanent mindset within an organization. Fullan begins with the need to close the gap between high and low performers. He stresses the need for attending to the three essentials of literacy, numeracy and well-being. He acknowledges the need for respect and dignity as essential to keep stakeholders such as teachers and students motivated. The more intra-school variance within classrooms is minimized the better consistency in the quality of education delivered to the student. Essential to any change process, for Fullan, is the need to have the best people working on the task at hand He aims to unlock people's potential to improve the overall talent in the system. Hence, capacity building is crucial, "to secure new beliefs and higher expectations Š critical to a turnaround situation Š people first need new experiences that lead them to different beliefs" (p. 60). Fullan strongly advocates that external accountability can be addressed as the system works on improving its internal accountability through the alignment of individual responsibility, collective expectations and accountability data. All of this leads towards building public confidence Š that is creating the conditions under which the vast majority of teachers will be motivated to invest in success (p. 65).

Fullan's final chapter provides a glimpse into how one can turn a whole system around. He uses as examples the York Region District School Board, England's National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy and the Ontario Case to present strategies that work towards a large-scale reform where a large number of leaders (change agents) within and across the different levels of society work to jointly own the enterprise.

Fullan envisages what he terms as permeable connectivity —an integration of top-down and bottom-up forces in an ongoing, dynamic manner (pp. 95-96). Summing it up his book provides a sociological aspect to the transformation that can be brought about by education within a whole system and indeed boldly enough within a nation. He advocates a visionary approach for mobilizing the million change agents that it will take to accomplish two giant things at once: greater equality and multifaceted prosperity. His belief in positive human endeavour and ingenuity can be seen clearly through each line and indeed each page of this motivating book. The book is an essential resource that can be used by researchers working in Development and particularly in Education as it provides recent, valid findings from others within the field integrated with the experience and knowledge that Fullan brings into any discussion on societal improvement and development. The book provides a number of research frameworks that can be used by researchers in further analyzing and developing theories and practices within the field. It is a book that has to be re-read again and again and again so that the full essence of Fullan's vision can be envisaged by the reader who might be a student, a teacher, a researcher, a school leader, a policy-maker or even a systems developer. Fullan has indeed catered to a broad spectrum of societal change agents as he has written a book on the change and improvement of society itself!


Berliner, D. C. (2006). Our impoverished view of educational research. Teachers College Record, 108, 945-995.

Heckman, J. J. (2006). Investing in disadvantaged children is an economically efficient policy. Paper presented at the Committee for Economic Development Forum on Building the Economic Case for Investments in Preschool, New York. Retrieved July 14, 2007, from

Kanter, R. M. (2004). Confidence: How winning and losing streaks begin and end. New York: Crown Business.

Organization for Economic Coooperation and Development (OECD), (2001). Knowledge and skills for life: First results from PISA 2000. Paris: OECD.

Wilkinson, R. G. (2005). The impact of inequality: How to make sick societies healthier. New York: New Press, 2005.

Willms, J. D., (Ed.) (2002). Vulnerable children: Findings from Canada's national longitudinal survey of children and youth. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press.

Reviewed by Venesser M. Pate, Doctorate of Education student, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Geller, Anne Ellen; Eodice, Michele; Condon, Frankie; Carroll, Meg & Boquet, Elizabeth H. (2007) The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice. Logan UT: Utah State University Press.

Pages: 144     Price: $22.95     ISBN: 9780874216561

Born out of informal conversations at conferences and continued post-conference communication, this book is a true collaboration authored by five writing-center directors from small and large, public and private institutions. The authors seek to examine the role of the writing center as central to what Wenger (1998) calls a "community of practice" and a place where directors, peer and professional tutors and students interact and learn from one another. As the authors examine the potential for creating a community of practitioners within the university writing center, they carefully thread theory through their explorations of what happens in the writing center. They do so "to use the hows to illuminate the whys and the whys to illuminate the hows" (p. 9). This book is not a how to set up a successful writing center manual, but instead, a reflective look at how a writing center can and should become a place of reflective practice and community building.

One of the writers' basic premises is that the pedagogical foundation of the writing center is one that cannot be prescribed, ordained or prescripted. Indeed, the authors assert that the magic of learning is tied to the moment of discovery, which can only result when the center and its tutors, teachers and writers are open to mutually exploring new and unfamiliar territory. While one primary role of writing center directors is to train tutors, the authors emphasize that though training manuals have their place, training must show beginning tutors that there is no "'toolbox' full of no-fail strategies and quick, easy answers" (p. 25). Instead, directors need to promote the recognition of moments of opportunity in both tutors and students, and in so-doing the authors suggest writing center directors can effect a culture of learning that transcends the center and spreads to other aspects of the campus community.

As writing center directors, the authors acknowledge some of the realties and difficulties that face them as they establish procedures for students and tutors. They explore the concept of time: how long should tutoring sessions be; should there be a deadline before papers are due that students must meet in order to schedule a tutoring session; how can tutors be taught to use time to reflect on their own practice, thereby encouraging the flexibility the authors advocate. Another problem the authors address is how to create a culture of learning within writing centers. Based on and adapted from Marcia Connor's Learning Audit, they have developed a Writing Center Learning Audit that other directors will find useful in assessing the degree to which their centers have a pro or anti learning culture. An important aspect, they maintain, of establishing a pro learning culture is to choose tutors from a wide range of backgrounds, and then to expose them to new learning situations so they begin to appreciate what it is to learn, what it is to teach, and how inextricable the two are. Some of their favorite tutoring training sessions include all writing center staff learning new skills like making jewelry, balloon animals, origami, ikebana or clay pigs and subsequently having to teach the new skill. Their goal: "we want co-learners, conscious of their interactions, listening and asking as much as they're telling" (p. 68).

Perhaps the most transformative view that the writers share is that of a writing center's potential to confront campus racism. The authors recognize that as five white women they are products of their own race and gender, but they see the need for the writing center to tackle the necessary but difficult struggle against racism. They suggest actively recruiting tutors who represent racially and ethnically diverse groups. Another method of confronting racism that each of the five directors use is an adaptation of Peggy McIntosh's (2005) "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" to heighten awareness on the part of predominantly white, privileged tutors. The authors remind us that tutors, as well as writers, need to be aware of multicultural and multilingual modes of expression. The authors go a step further, however, than merely addressing racism within the confines of the writing center and advocate that writing center directors forge alliances with others on campus who are also willing to effect change. They suggest that writing center directors can assume "leadership roles out of a sense of mission, need, and purpose and require the participation of others to accomplish this purpose" (p. 96).

Overall, The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice inspires just what it purports to do: reflection on how best to devise a writing center that supports mutual and interactive teaching and learning in a nurturing environment. The book also gives rise to thoughts of how writing centers can take a leadership role in establishing pedagogical and institutional awareness of learning communities and opportunities for growth.


McIntosh, P. (2005) White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. In P.S. Rothenberg (Ed.), White privilege: Essential readings on the other side of racism (pp. 97-101). New York: Worth.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Reviewed by Pat Mytkowicz, Ed.D, an associate professor, writing teacher and coordinator of a program for multilingual students with learning disabilities at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts.

Gilmore, Barry (2007). "Is It Done Yet?": Teaching Adolescents the Art of Revision. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Pages: 147     Price: $18.50     ISBN: 0-325-01096-X

This entertaining book not only provides practical advice and activities for revision in student writing but also encourages teachers to reconsider their own philosophies about teaching language arts. The author's easy-to-read style is practical and humorous, often including student examples to demonstrate his points. His voice comes through loud and clear; yet the book is concise and clearly organized from the six page introductory chapter to the appendix outlining a semester plan for teaching writing. Undoubtedly, Barry Gilmore follows his own advice about writing and revision.

"Is It Done Yet" is more suited to upper level high school teachers and even college writing instructors. The author focuses on research and literary analysis papers, with only a brief chapter about creative writing, although some of the techniques can be adapted for different genres. Gilmore also includes a brief chapter about writing with technology, not just word processing programs but also the Internet, and a chapter about revising on demand, which includes a useful checklist for students to use when they have finished a timed writing. Most of the techniques and activities attempt to raise the sophistication of the writer after at least one draft has been already written, by incorporating quotations more smoothly or adding an additional paragraph to a five paragraph essay, for example. The author pays special attention to the introduction and conclusion of papers, usually what students struggle with most, and how they reflect the organization and purpose of the writing.

Gilmore emphasizes that students must be required to revise, not because they want to improve their grades (in fact, he believes no grade should be assigned to the first draft), but because they want to improve their writing. He emphasizes how to help students revise their own writing, rather than having the teacher do it by marking up papers with incomprehensible scrawls. To truly help students revise, the author believes the teacher must model the techniques, maybe even with past student work. True to his word, Gilmore does just that with excerpts from essays before and after revision strategies. Peer revision is also a major element in the book, with ideas specific enough to be practical but general enough to work for many different types of writing and classrooms. For students to improve their work, they must have some sense of ownership through input in both assignments and rubrics, which the author says in his list of rules on the front cover of the book, "are only useful if they donÕt feel like a cage to students." He even offers some examples of student-written scoring guides and tells the readers to trust their students.

The most important of Gilmore's rules is "Getting better at writing increases your desire to do it," which is the goal of any writing teacher. He offers countless realistic strategies of how to improve student writing through revision, especially how to avoid the wordy, repetitive academic language so many students seem to use. Some of the strategies involve sophisticated writing techniques such as using an anadiplosis, antithesis, or even chiasmus; terms probably unfamiliar to most high school students. However, by encouraging and even forcing revision, teachers may find their students capable of more than they imagined. While the book has very few references, the authorÕ's ideas are enough to make any writing teacher rethink assignments and activities in the classroom.

Reviewed by Beth Kania-Gosche, graduate teaching assistant in the educational studies department of Saint Louis University.

Laminack, Lester L. & Wadsworth, Reba M. (2007). Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum: How to Build Bridges in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Pages: 222     Price: $25.00     ISBN: 978-0-325-00982-7

Some of the best stories I remember from my childhood were those read aloud to me by my parents and grandparents. I can still recall the covers of those books and sometimes even single pages—I certainly do for my favourite picture book which was about a mischievous black and white tomcat.

The Commission on Reading states in its 1984 report Becoming A Nation of Readers, 'The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children" (p. 51). One of the best read-aloud resources, because they are so memorable and visually appealing, is picture books. With Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum, Laminack and Wadsworth provide an easy-to-read, well-structured and practitioner-oriented book on reading aloud with children and demonstrate how picture books can be utilised across the curriculum to develop successful, critical and enthusiastic readers.

Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum is especially useful to teachers who have little experience in reading aloud in the elementary classroom. In the Introduction Laminack and Wadsworth provide their readers with clear general guidelines on how to utilise "reading aloud as a deliberate and thoughtful act of instruction" (p. x). The authors also set out the teaching goal as "to slowly move students toward independence" and explain that the role of the teacher is "to serve as the one who is demonstrating the thinking, not thinking for them" (p. xi). As Calkin states, "Helping children think about texts is as essential to the teaching of reading as it is to the whole of our lives, and the most powerful way to teach this kind of thinking is through book talks based on read aloud books" (Calkin (2001), p. 228)

Laminack and Wadsworth then take us through a sample collection of books for the study of a sample topic, ‘The Underground Railroad’, and suggest an order for using the books that reflects their rationale for approaching the sample topic successfully. Readers with little methodological experience will embrace the clearly structured, hands-on guidelines for planning and delivering a read-aloud unit that suits the needs of their learners

Each of the four chapters in the book is dedicated to the use of picture books and read-alouds to support a specific curriculum: language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. In each chapter, Laminack and Wadsworth first provide the curriculum standards or strands as set by the corresponding teaching council, then discuss these and highlight considerations and approaches on how to develop the appropriate skills in the young learner through picture books and read- alouds. For each curriculum, they then select one book and provide a sample lesson before inviting us into their libraries. The collated starter sets, which make up more than 150 pages of the book, enable a quick familiarisation with a wide range of picture books and the sheer variety of topics that can be tackled in an interesting, learner age- based way. The books are organised into bookshelves alphabetically by the title of the book. Each book entry contains title, author and illustrator, publisher, date, ISBN number and a brief introduction to the book's content and how it could serve to support the learning process.

For the Language Arts curriculum, for example, the authors introduce books that illustrate the features of writing organised under the sub- headings Alliteration, Relevant Details, Interesting Use of Italics, Language That Extends Vocabulary, Memoir Like Story, Metaphors and Similes, Onomatopoeia, Patterned Text, Personification, Questions as a Story Structure, Slows Time and Shows a Small Moment, Unusual Punctuation and, last but not least, Varied Sentence Length.

Readers who are unfamiliar with the method of reading aloud in the classroom and who have not read the authors' Learning Under the Influence of Language and Literature (2006) may struggle to find some essential background information in the Introduction chapter; for example, the age of the reader the suggested picture books are suitable for. Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum is a useful resource in its own right to guide teachers when reading aloud with children in the classroom; yet it fulfils its purpose best as an extension of Learning Under the Influence.


Anderson, R., Hiebert, E., Scott, J., & Wilkinson, I. (1984). Becoming a nation of readers. Champaign-Urbana, IL: Center for the Study of Reading

Calkins, L. (2001). The art of teaching reading. New York, NY: Longman

Laminack, L. L. & Wadsworth, R. M. (2006). Learning Under the Influence of Language and Literature: Making the Most of Read-Alouds Across the Day. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Reviewed by Dorit Hahn, Ph.D. student in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham, UK. Dorit Hahn is also a Senior Tutor for German at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.

Passman, Roger & McKnight, Katherine S. (2007). Teaching Writing in the Inclusive Classroom: Strategies and Skills for All Students. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.

Pages: 174     Price: $29.95     ISBN: 0-7879-8214-8

Teaching Writing in the Inclusive Classroom is written for grades 6 to 12 teachers. Organized in 6 chapters, the TIP writing approach is used (teach strategies, introduce skills and mechanics, opportunities to practice). The intent is to provide students with opportunities to write clearly and concisely in authentic situations by having a voice, gaining authority, and writing for an audience. Writing is about "making thinking visible...a unique way of thinking," (p. 5-6) in both solitary (e.g., writing draft) and social (e.g., revision, editing) environments. The authors emphasize the importance of teaching writing through differentiated instruction so all students, regardless of exceptionality or ability, can have their needs and interests addressed, while identifying themselves as writers.

In chapter two, 16 activities and strategies are provided to help students develop their voice and authority in writing. For instance, Rich Description provides students with 3 choices to develop their ability to write descriptively, strengthen vocabulary, and write with depth. In Picture Writing, students are provided with a picture and asked to write a story, focusing on the image details in their narrative. In The Friday Essay, students' voices are developed by writing an essay in any genre from a quote or prompt.

The remaining chapters focus on mini-lessons, requiring 5 minutes to 20 minutes, to support students in skills that organize their thoughts in writing; support grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure; and explicate how to write a research paper. Emphases are placed on students being engaged and using multiple mini-lessons to address a particular skill, which addresses students' learning styles and multiple intelligences. To support students with organizing their writing, activities make use of manipulatives (e.g., paper cups, beans, candy, index cards), charts, web diagrams, checklists, and templates. For instance, Paragraph Jigsaw helps students organize the sequence of a passage by topic sentence, supporting sentences, and concluding sentence by having students sort the cut pieces together.

As a high school mathematics teacher, I reviewed this resource with a lens towards literacy. I was impressed with the originality of the activities and strategies. I successfully made connections to some of the strategies in the Ontario Ministry of Education's Think Literacy, Cross-Curricular Approaches, Grades 7 to 12. I am convinced that all teachers, regardless of subject discipline, have responsibility to promote literacy. For instance, Vocabulary Pictures, which uses flash cards to support the learning of new vocabulary (definition; antonym; use in a sentence; draw picture) reminds me of the Frayer Model to grasp key terminology in the subject discipline (definition; facts; examples; non-examples).

The book is a treasure trove of activities and strategies, many of which originated from the authors' own experiences in the classroom. The authors have done a wonderful job writing a resource for busy teachers that is easy to read, with blackline masters ready to be photocopied. The National Council of Teachers of English and International Reading Association (NCTE/IRA) Standards for the English Language Arts in the appendix is appreciated.

Like any reviewer, I believe suggestions should be provided since there is no "perfect" book. I would have liked to see student exemplars which would give me greater assurance that the activities have been classroom-tested. To broaden the readership, I suggest a discussion on how teachers in any subject discipline can incorporate the strategies. The "Visualizing" activity on pages 53-54 did not sit well with me since students must recall an accident or injury. I am surprised that this went through in publication since students may recall a traumatic experience.

Reviewed by Louis Lim, BScHons, BEd, MEd, MA (candidate), department head of mathematics at Richmond Hill High School, located slightly north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is also employed as a sessional additional qualifications instructor with Queen's University and York University.

Reeves, Douglas B. (2007). The Daily Disciplines of Leadership: How to Improve Student Achievement, Staff Motivation, and Personal Organization. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.

Pages: 272     Price: $20.00     ISBN: 978-0-7879-8767-1

The re-release of The Daily Disciplines of Leadership: How to Improve Student Achievement, Staff Motivation, and Personal Organization reminds those of us genuinely interested in leading complex organizations that there is no clear cut set of directions for moving schools forward in the 21st Century, just as we learned during the 1980s and 1990s. In fact given the new accountability measures, we can even argue that we are now confronted with more complexities than ever as we attempt to educate America's most pluralistic group of children in the nation's public schools.

Reeves releases the text with a new preface which mentions a series of demographic and educational trends existing in all fifty states and on five continents. From his findings, he continues to suggest that there are "six big ideas that are now more important than ever" (p. xiii):

  1. Leadership and management are inseparable
  2. Accountability is more than test scores
  3. Leadership leverage is key to maximizing results
  4. Feedback is as important to adults as it is for students
  5. Students are not customers
  6. The value of strategic planning lies not in nicely formatted documents, but in a focus on core values, clear strategies, and effective action plans.
Within the discourse surrounding the big ideas, Reeves simply restates the arguments he originally articulated in the original publication of this work in 2002.

Given what American educators have since learned about accountability legislation with the No Child Left Behind Act, seemingly Reeves would have capitalized on the lessoned learned in relationship to his big ideas. Because he has chosen not to update the text, he does not make connections between the big ideas and the existing state of education, with the exception of what is mentioned in the preface. He maintains, "since the publication of the first edition of The Daily Disciplines of Leadership in 2002, the educational, economic, and political landscape in the United States and throughout the world has changed in a dramatic fashion" (p. xiii). What Reeves does not share with the readers are the answers to the following questions:

  • How have the current educational, economic, and political structures impacted leadership?
  • What are the impacts of the change on his six big ideas?
  • How might educators begin to respond differently late into the first decade of the new Century?

Perhaps the focus of the 2007 re-release was to share the contents of the book to a new audience while presenting a more contemporary voice of the author in the preface. Given that, Reeves has satisfactorily accomplished this intention. However, I strongly believe that in several areas of the text, Reeves could have pointed to many new research-based innovations to further enhance this substantial work. The most recent citations used are from 2002.

Reviewed by Jumanne R. Sledge Ed.D., World Class Leadership Academy, Southfield, Michigan.

Taylor, Monica, editor (2007). Whole Language Teaching, Whole-Hearted Practice: Looking Back, Looking Forward. New York: Peter Lang.

Pages: 219     Price: $31.95     ISBN: 9780820463100

Whole Language Teaching, Whole Hearted Practice makes the case that Whole Language belongs in the current discussion on literacy instruction in the face of recent policy mandates. This is not a "how- to" of Whole Language practice. Instead, the authors provide a rich history, contextualizing the essence of what has become the proverbial punching bag of reading reform; and a message of optimistic urgency for the future. Despite policy changes and the marginalization of Whole Language as a teaching philosophy the authors deliver nine separate essays reminding us that Whole Language is "a pedagogy of possibility" (p. 71), reinforcing its strong connections with social activism, and arguing that now more than ever this kind of participatory democracy is absolutely necessary for our children. The notion of possibility highlights the largest divide in the reading wars. While the phonics camp asks only, "What works?" the Whole Language camp dares to ask "Why?" With its narrative history and challenges for future Whole Language practice, this book is informative reading for current and pre-service teachers, and all who observe and study reading instruction.

In today's classrooms, where code-based strategies and basals have regained prominence, the impact of Whole Language practices is ever- present. This can be seen in writing process models, and is apparent when teachers offer student-selected projects, or integrate reading across the curriculum. It is visible when teachers use miscue analysis to guide instruction; and when teachers and students integrate prior knowledge from the individual world with what is understood from the text and visual analysis. The modern basals, while offering a substantial amount of code based instruction, also integrate quality texts that are far removed from the linguistically controlled world of Dick, Spot, and Jane.

Whole Language practices contributed positively to the involvement of teachers as decision makers for classroom practices. Whole Language places teachers in the role of expert, advocate, and guide; and encourages them to observe closely, match student interests to texts, give choices for interpreting and acting on texts, and use student responses to design future lessons. Yetta Goodman believes that current practices provide a very limited role for teachers in determining how teaching happens (p. 181). But the increased emphasis on schools as professional learning communities, and demands for professional development mandated by No Child Left Behind provide an opportunity for renewal of the collaboration framework established by Whole Language.

Contributors to this book view Whole Language as an action-oriented movement, political by necessity, whose purpose is to provide literacy skills without bias for all who would take them. Denny Taylor argues that the current "'reading wars' are not about Whole Language or phonics . . . (but) are about the control of language, who reads, who writes, and for what purpose" (p. 198). The elements of choice and honoring children's language open doors of opportunity. These remain closed when the primary instructional focus is on phonics, mastery of the code, and unquestioning acceptance of the text's version of meaning. This is in our eyes the strongest argument for Whole Language and the strongest element in the book, echoing the criticism of current policy and research by Gerald Coles (200) and Steven Strauss (2005).

Not all have agreed with this view of Whole Language, and the contributors willingly take on some of the most salient criticisms. Lisa Delpit (1995) argued that for many students the environment of Whole Language classrooms actually limits student responses and opportunities for learning and using the "codes of power" (p. xvi). Thus, socially progressive classrooms in a socially conservative world do not serve minority children well, as they do not have alternate linguistic and cultural models from the dominant culture. Delpit's arguments frame fundamental questions about the purpose of reading instruction, and the form it should take to ensure that all children have opportunities to develop literacy skills.

Debra Goodman counters that it is code based methods that have the effect of controlling children, while Whole Language seeks to honor the knowledge children bring to the table and give them opportunities to use language in authentic ways for purposeful outcomes. Through this pattern of teaching, children grasp the learning processes needed to successfully control the codes of power (p. 71). Ken and Yetta Goodman cast this argument in a political light: as an attempt to establish fear that Whole Language means to capture the minds of children, or keep children from learning (pp. 172-173). These assumptions are false, and evidence is presented in depth in a 1997 interview between the Goodmans and Time magazine. The willingness of the contributors to take on these concerns is a strength of the text.

Another criticism has been directed at the Whole Language claim for Aha! moments when students suddenly, after repeated exposures to text in authentic settings, understand the code needed to read words. This type of assumption, unsupported as it often was, was one of the triggers for the movement toward more phonics instruction in today's classrooms. This book does little to address the problems enveloped in this assumption, and the evidence that presents a challenge to this world view. Whole Language practices described provide a solid framework for helping students interpret, make meaning, and apply information from texts. The framework provides strategies for capturing evidence of learning through portfolio assessment, miscue analysis, and guided dialogue about texts. But the concerns around teaching students for whom language and literacy don't easily click must be addressed.

The willingness of the contributors to take on concerns about classroom culture and power is a strength of the text. But the inability to separate elements of critical literacy from instructional practices seems a weakness of the book as a whole, and is reminiscent of the original concerns that caused movement away from the framework. We believe that while the overlap between the two may be great in some areas of reading instruction (such as choice in what to read or write about) they may be quite independent in others. Here, we believe, the authors err in a similar way as their critics. Teaching code based strategies for reading does not need to take the form of behaviorist tightly controlled instruction. The failure to recognize that the political stance does not necessarily lead to one way of literacy acquisition is a poignant reminder of the Whole Language movement's largest failures: the inability to reconcile empirical evidence with an ideological position, and the failure in creating a body of research that would help teachers and administrators at all levels make better decisions about early literacy instruction.

Whole Language continues to provide valuable strategies for helping students interact with texts, and helping teachers apply what they observe to instructional design. Its emphasis on collaboration establishes a framework that could now be applied to professional learning communities in schools. The Goodmans and their colleagues helped us turn a corner in reading instruction. This has informed and influenced many successful practices in classrooms. And yet, there are some children for whom the message doesn't click through repeated Whole Language experiences, and many children who benefit from explicit instruction in code strategies, especially when paired with miscue analysis, comprehension strategies, and thoughtful guided instruction from an observant teacher. It is possible for teachers to balance instruction in this way, and still take the roles of expert, advocate, and guide while incorporating specific code based instruction. The future of reading instruction would benefit from approaching code based strategies from a Whole Language framework: defining and mastering the code, then using it to explore, comprehend, argue, defend, and embrace: all essential elements of becoming literate in American society. This book reminds us of these elements, and challenges us to incorporate them into our reading classrooms.

Should you read this book? Absolutely, yes. As teachers and researchers in literacy we must constantly be reminded of where we came from, and of the questions that face us daily: What should we teach our students and how should we teach them? Whether Whole Language was part of the culture while you were teaching (such as us) or historical reference (as it is to our pre service students) through reading this monograph you will get a sense of the significance and promise held in Whole Language practices.


Coles, G. (2000). Misreading Reading: The Bad Science That Hurts Children. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Press.

Delpit, L. (1995). Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. New York: The New Press.

Strauss, S.L. (2005). The Linguistics, Neurology, and Politics of Phonics. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Reviewed by Emily Hayden and Guy Trainin.
Emily Hayden, is a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. She has taught in K-12 classrooms as a reading specialist, resource teacher, and classroom teacher. Her research interests include text analysis, vocabulary, and the progression from language acquisition to early reading proficiency.

Guy Trainin, is an assistant professor of Literacy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He focuses his research in the areas of reading and writing acquisition and field research methods. Both a general and special education teacher for more than 10 years, Dr. Trainin teaches pre-service teacher education courses as well as graduate courses in literacy research. He is currently serving as an external evaluator to the Nebraska Reading First grant and a large demonstration grant in Literacy and Art. He is co-founder and co-director of The Great Plains Institute for Reading and Writing at UNL.

Thompson, Frances McBroom (2006). Math Essentials, Elementary School Level: Lessons and Activities for Test Preparation, Grades 3-5. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.

Pages: 400     Price: $32.95     ISBN: 978-0-7879-8880-7

This book certainly lives up to its title to provide lessons and activities for test preparation. As part of a series on Math Essentials, this is a teacher workbook with instructions for teachers and blackline masters as handouts for students in each lesson or objective. The lessons are arranged as objectives in 5 sections and there is a multiple choice practice test at the end of each section.

The lessons are presented in an orderly fashion and progress through the major standards of the National Council Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). As a teacher, I really appreciated the three-part developmental approach to the lesson presentations. The first activity for each objective is presented at the manipulative stage. This means that the activities are very hands-on and use concrete materials. These materials are not complicated and you can substitute for more easily obtained objects for the manufactured materials. For example, in the fraction lessons, when tiles were called for, I used post-it notes. The second activity of each objective is presented in the pictorial stage. This is a pencil and paper activity where students draw pictures to solve and explain the math work. The third stage is independent practice. This is work done with symbols. That is, the students solve and write the problem with "regular numbers."

Now that I have been teaching for many years, I realize the importance of helping children to develop their math skills as ideas first, both conceptually and concretely. Students need to understand the process before they try to write and solve problems with numerals, characters and symbols. Therefore, I especially like how this author promotes the three part lesson to guide the students. For example, in the fractions section, students first model 3-fourths of a hamburger with small objects. For my lesson, I again used post-it notes. The author also encourages the use of word names to describe the fraction parts, as in "3-fourths of the whole." In the second activity, students draw ten squares to represent ten miles Then they mark 4 squares with an “x” to show 4/10 of a 10-mile trip. In Activity Three, when symbols are use, the author expects a complete sentence for the answer, such as “4/6 of the whole bar is shaded.”

I also appreciated that the author emphasizes finding patterns and generalizations throughout the book. In Section One on Numbers, students will generalize a pattern in a sequence of whole numbers and in Section Four on Geometry, students make generalizations from geometric sets of examples and non-examples. This is building young students' algebraic sense as a foundation of mathematics.

I recommend this book to teachers, not only in grades 3 -5 as it is designed, for but for all teachers whose students may need to review these basic skills and concepts.

Reviewed by Cathleen M. Alexander, Ph.D. student in Mathematics Education at the University of California, Davis.

Thompson, Gail L. (2007). Up Where We Belong: Helping African American and Latino Students Rise in School and in Life. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.

Pages: 336     Price: $24.95     ISBN: 978-0-7879-9597-3

In Up Where We Belong, Gail L. Thompson examines perceptions about disparities in achievement among diverse public school student populations, with particular emphasis on African American and Latino students. This book builds on Thompson's earlier works such as Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know but are Afraid to Ask about African American Children (2004), and African-American Teens Discuss their Schooling Experiences (2002).

Thompson points to characteristics common among low-performing schools: they tend to be located in poor, crime ridden, densely populated urban areas, and they have a high percentage of minority, low-income students, to whom Thompson refers as "America's stepchildren," who are marginalized in schools and society. The basis of this book derives from what began as a study focusing on under- achieving African American students at a low-performing California high school and became a more comprehensive mixed-method study of high school students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Each chapter illustrates the conflicting views of teachers and students on such topics as standardized tests, discipline practices, teacher qualifications, culturally relevant curricula, school safety, and school environment, parent involvement, tracking, and school reform

Throughout the text, Thompson highlights the role of race, culture and gender in relation to school personnel expectations, practices, and policies, underscoring how inequality in schools is perpetuated. Thompson also draws on anecdotal experiences as an African American student, public school teacher, parent, and teacher educator, as well as media sources that shed light on problematic structures and processes within U.S. schools. Perhaps most compelling in this work, however, is Thompson's use of students' own words to highlight causes of underachievement, as well as longer-lasting consequences of school disparity, such as low self-esteem and apathy in students, school violence, and economic stagnancy.

This highly readable and relevant text underscores the need to improve conditions in schools and achievement in students, while also pointing to flaws in current reforms that offer superficial, potentially harmful quick fixes to these problems. Chapter summaries and recommendations make this a useful read for practicing teachers and administrators as well as students in teacher and administrator preparation courses, parents, and others interested in how to overcome disparities in schools and in society.


Thompson, Gail L. (2002). African-American Teens Discuss their Schooling Experiences. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.

Thompson, Gail L. (2004). Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know but are Afraid to Ask about African American Children. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Reviewed by Liv Thorstensson Dávila, Ph.D. student of Education at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Tunks, Karyn Wellhousen & Giles, Rebecca McMahon (2007). Write Now: Publishing with Young Authors. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Pages: 98     Price: $14.00     ISBN: 978-0-325-00911-7

Write Now, an in-service text for language arts teachers, is a light-hearted and potentially powerful little book. Powerful because the central point of the text is philosophical praise of publishing student writing. Publishing is poised as a pedagogical technique known to successfully convey appreciation of student writing leading to increased performance. The authors note in their introduction publishing "gives children real reasons for making the effort to write" (p. xiii). One such reason might be the genuine appreciation for the student's voice that such a gesture surely makes clear. Mother Teresa once spoke about a greater hunger for appreciation in this world than bread. Her notion is made clear in contemporary education where student work often merely ends up in the recycle bin in June and where we see an ever-increasing number of students longing to simply be noticed.

In the opening chapter authors Tunks and Giles convey, with authority and eloquence, a well-defined philosophical foundation for publishing the writing of children "early and often" (p. 7). Essentially, their claim is that "publishing" student writing (defined, in essence, by the authors as writing prepared for display or "sharing" with others) is confirming to the idea that children are filled with worthwhile stories, experiences and even knowledge. This sits comfortably with constructivist approaches to learning which are prominent in many current pedagogical frameworks. Fundamentally, the concept gives rise to meaning in student learning situations. Too often we are criticized in education for teaching which is not adequately linked to "the outside" so as to establish meaningful connections in the lives of students. Publishing is a notion for the English language classroom which confronts, and addresses, such a critique head on. Beyond the explication of this philosophy of publishing I am ambivalent about the book's value as a definitive text in elementary language arts.

Tunks and Giles take their readers on a tour through basic elements of elementary school reading and writing development with a constant relation back to their stated philosophy of publishing. Beyond the opening chapter we move into discussion about learning language, which although well connected to the idea of publishing, is somewhat aside from the perceived thrust of the books central theme. Additionally, much of the discussion is of basal and familiar content for elementary school teachers. Chapters three and four touch upon topics such as: a) English language learners; b) special needs children; and c) developing fine motor skills. Again, this information seems to loom as background information of general interest, although in fairness to the authors, not entirely unrelated to the concept of publishing. The fundamental problem is that one reads chapters two through four and feels as though she is taking a basic English comprehension course while waiting to crack a volume of Milton or Shakespeare. There is a persistent want to turn the pages and arrive at the nuts and bolts of the opening philosophy - publishing. This want is eventually satisfied but much too late in the text.

With the arrival of chapters six and seven, the final two, we see more of the promised "ideas and examples" (p. xvi) for actual writing and publishing with young authors as promised in the introduction. Tunks and Giles make a crucial point in relation to writing in chapter six; the idea that being an author is often cooperative and need not be an isolated activity. This chapter elucidates a number of cooperative writing activities such as: a) narratives based on shared experience; b) interactive writing (children actually sharing the pen) and c) revising and editing. This is of great importance in the early stages of supporting authorship as too often children learn that writing is something we do "alone" and ultimately must be "confessional" or overly "self-expressionist." This chapter, and to a limited extent the book as a whole, works well to dismantle this pervasive view of the writer's vocation. This is especially nice to see in a book aimed at early elementary educators.

I was again disappointed, unfortunately, by the end of chapter six reading the all too brief passage on poetry. Poetry is such a powerful form of written expression that I cannot excuse the authors for their passing glimpse into this literary genre. My opinion, however, contrasts vividly with that of Tunks and Giles who write "they [children] begin to play with words by making up silly songs and nonsense words or by using sound effects to emphasize a point. Their interest in poetry grows as they sing familiar tunes, repeat nursery rhymes, attempt tongue twisters…" (p. 77). Although one might suggest that more serious approaches to poetry are inappropriate or premature for young children, this may also be said of publishing. The authors were able to illustrate that it is never too early to publish and I would say it is never too early to introduce children to the power of poetry as not merely "silly songs and nonsense words" but as a powerful written form for imagining into the feelings of others. Poetry is a way to embody feelings, not merely our own, but those of others perhaps unlike ourselves; a central benefit of creative writing pedagogies for democratic societies.

Write Now contains a comprehensive table of contents, an extensive reference list (although short on recent scholarship) as well as three appendices. Appendices A, B, and C consist of two charts (a record of center use and a sample writing log) and a sample letter to parents. These resources are simple and overly-contextualized considering the structure of the publishing ideas outlined in the book. There is also a list of magazines provided which publish children's work. Although all links are active, there appears to be no discussion justifying this particularly brief selection of sites. Finally, there are a number of illustrations and photographs throughout the book consuming a large portion of the page count. Many of the child illustrations are insightful and well connected to the text whereas the photographs appear dated and are of a generic relation to the book's theme.

Write Now is a book with great potential. I could not agree more that children need to be encouraged to write and publish at a young age. After all, if we do not publish (share) the writings of our students why are we having them write? Authors Tunks and Giles are making a most worthwhile point in this text; publish early and often. Once introduced to the idea of publishing in the elementary environment and convinced of the potential benefits, teachers can be moved along to more in-depth and concrete resources and materials.

Reviewed by Michael Ernest Sweet who lives, writes and teaches in Montreal, Quebec. He has been admitted to degrees in humanities and education and is currently a graduate student in the department of education at Concordia University. He is the founder of LearningforaCause.or g an organization which promotes imagination in education.

Wankel, Charles & DeFillippi, Robert (Eds.) (2006). New Visions of Graduate Management Education. Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.

Pages: 387     Price: $69.95(hardcover) $39.95(paperback)     ISBN: 978-1-59311-554-8(hardcover) 978-1-59311-553-1 (paperback)

Charles Wankel and Robert DeFillippi, editors of several volumes in the Research in Management Education and Development series, here present a series of articles addressing recent critiques of graduate management education: among them that MBA programs focus on theory rather than on practice; are constructed with a functional emphasis on disconnected teaching and research "silos"; and discourage innovation and integration. Wankel and DePhillippi note in their excellent introduction that such criticisms centre on what they describe as a "highly stylized version" of American MBA programs while overlooking a great many innovations in MBA programming in the United States and elsewhere. The purpose of this volume, as its title suggests, is to offer new perspectives from American and international scholars on the design and delivery of such programs.

The articles in this volume are grouped thematically, beginning with research-based studies examining outcomes of management education programs. This set of articles explores the extent to which management education programs have an impact on graduates' salaries, career paths, and competencies. The next section of the book presents reviews of MBA program design, outlining curricula which have been developed nationally and internationally in response to the criticisms of management education listed by Wankel and DePhillippi in their introduction to this volume. The editors' interest in highlighting best practices in curriculum development and innovation is reflected in the third section of the book: here, models of graduate management education in Canada and Finland are presented with a view to describing how MBA programs outside the USA have responded effectively to national and local contexts. The theme of innovation also underpins the final two sections of this volume, focusing on partnerships between faculties of management education and non-profit organizations as well as American Chambers of Commerce; and ending with a series of articles describing examples of innovative approaches to the design and delivery of MBA programs. This final group of articles encompasses topics as varied as developing hybrid learning nets, teaching ethics, and incorporating considerations of cultural diversity into graduate management education.

This volume addresses criticisms of conventional MBA programs head- on, and is to be praised for the international perspective it offers in responding to these critiques. It makes evident the value of linking general higher education research with the development or enhancement of MBA programming. Moreover, Wankel and DePhillippi provide a balance between general considerations relating to program planning on one hand and specific applications from within the field of graduate management education on the other. For example, articles identifying frameworks for curriculum design are supplemented with contributions focusing specifically on the role of self-reflection in MBA programs. Consistent with the editors' emphasis on highlighting both research and innovation relating to the design and delivery of programming, the contributors to this volume include an international panel of distinguished researchers and faculty in fields as diverse as education, curriculum planning, strategy, information systems, business, and management.

New Visions of Graduate Management Education will be of considerable interest to MBA faculty and curriculum designers as well as to researchers in the field of higher education. Many issues faced by MBA faculty echo those confronted by faculty who teach management and leadership courses in other higher education disciplines. One such issue is how to leverage students' prior work experience in the context of theoretically-based university courses. The advantages and limitations of case studies as a learning tool is another issue examined in this volume that has an application to curriculum development beyond the field of graduate management education itself. Finally, articles outlining partnerships with organizations outside the university will prompt reflection about possibilities for providing learning environments which link theory and practice for students in a number of disciplines. Thus, while the focus of this volume is clearly on innovation in education for MBA students, its scope is such that it will be relevant to researchers and curriculum designers in other disciplines as well. Above all, Wankel and DeFillippi's book serves as an eloquent call for closer links between designers of MBA programs and researchers in the broader higher education context.

Reviewed by Terry Milnes, Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural and Policy Studies at the Faculty of Education, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

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