September 24, 2017

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Helping Girls Thrive in STEM Fields and Working “Storytime Magic” | Professional Reading

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SLJ1606-ProfessionalLemov, Doug, Erica Woolway, & Colleen Driggs. Reading Reconsidered: A Practical Guide to Rigorous Literacy Instruction. 456p. ebook available. glossary. index. websites. Jossey-Bass. Mar. 2016. pap. $32.95. ISBN 9781119104247.

Lemov, Woolway, and Driggs believe that reading instruction needs a serious makeover. They argue that current literacy instruction delegates too much choice to students amid “benignly appealing youth fiction written after 1980” while nonfiction and older fiction texts (the stuff of college) are a mere afterthought. The authors call on educators to focus on “the core of the core”: harder texts, close reading, more nonfiction, and frequent writing in response to reading as the main approach to ameliorate declining SAT scores. Part 1 details this instructional core, while part 2 gets into the nitty-gritty of teaching strategies: vocabulary instruction, approaches to “independent” reading, text annotation, and more. Each chapter is broken into discrete modules for study and implementation, accompanied by a collection of videos from the classrooms of UnCommon School teachers. The authors clearly demonstrate a respect for teachers and students. With many references to E.D. Hirsch, readers may be concerned that a revival of the traditional canon is on the horizon. However, the authors advocate for an “internal canon” selected purposefully by teachers. While many of the strategies are supported by relevant research in the field, there is scant reference made to research on the importance of student choice in reading. VERDICT Though the context for change might be debatable, many of the instructional strategies may offer ideas for teaching.–Ernie Cox, Prairie Creek Intermediate School, Cedar Rapids, IA

MacMillan, Kathy & Christine Kirker. More Storytime Magic. illus. by Melanie Fitz. 200p. further reading. illus. index. ALA Editions. Dec. 2015. pap. $52. ISBN 9780838913680.

Another excellent resource from this author pair, this title presents songs, stories, and activities arranged by themes, such as fairy tales, animals, friends, and food. The stories and songs include originals and adaptations alike, and many of the tunes are sung to well-known traditional songs. Each chapter features patterns for making flannel board figures or craft patterns, and worksheets that may be easily found online. Many of the activities are depicted in American Sign Language. Each chapter concludes with a list of recommended titles, which are also referenced in an excellent general index and in a resource appendix. For those who wish to specify the elements of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) demonstrated in storytime, the coding found with each activity is helpful. The key to the coded symbols is referenced in an index. Another helpful appendix lists the CCSS for kindergarten. The lists of strategies for engaging children, including those with disabilities, will be especially useful to first-time storytellers. VERDICT With fun activities and timely information on the CCSS, this is an ideal choice for administrators, librarians, and parents eager to promote current literacy standards.–Jackie Gropman, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, VA

Mosatche, Harriet S., Elizabeth Lawner, & Susan Matloff-Nieves. Breaking Through!: Helping Girls Succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. 296p. bibliog. Prufrock. Feb. 2016. pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781618215215.

While the knowledge that women are underrepresented in STEM careers is not earth-shattering, the research rounded up in this book might shock readers not already familiar with the depth of the gender gap. Delving into past and current research about girls and STEM, the authors break down societal stereotypes about innate vs. learned abilities and the lack of female interest in STEM activities, demonstrating how girls can be pushed away from typically male-heavy fields. Additional research about role models and mentoring programs elucidates ways in which adults can effectively support young women interested in these pursuits. Advocacy advice provides parents and caring adults with various methods for guiding girls toward STEM and creating receptive environments so that they aren’t shunned, overlooked, or ignored by peers or adults. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this title is the quick-start guide for incorporating STEM into everyday life. The suggested activities and recommended discussions of scientific method and creative problem-solving appropriately coach adults to feel comfortable talking with and advising girls to become involved in STEM paths for many years to come. Parents, educators, and librarians will all find ideas to implement in this thorough resource. VERDICT A recommended purchase for most parenting, professional reading, or reference collections.–Abby Bussen, Muskego Public Library, WI

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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Comments

  1. Incorporating STEM into daily life is the way to go. If you walk into a toy store, often it looks like some kind of boy vs. girl apartheid is going on. Where are the construction sets to appeal to girls? Boys get to start problem-solving from an early age, whilst girls get to play house.