Guided by Meaning in Primary Literacy: Libraries, Reading, Writing, and Learning by Joyce Carroll, Kelly Barger, Karla James & Kristy Hill | SLJ Review

redstarCARROLL, Joyce, Kelly Barger, Karla James, & Kristy Hill. Guided by Meaning in Primary Literacy: Libraries, Reading, Writing, and Learning. 297p. chart. illus. index. photos. Libraries Unlimited. Feb. 2017. Tr $39.94. ISBN 9781440843983.

A practical and important book on supporting early literacy in schools and libraries with lessons in writing and reading. The title’s most crucial arguments are that literacy (and, for that matter, anything) should resonate with those we teach and that “brain research has supported meaningful instruction for decades and continues to support it by proving that the brain neither attends nor retains what it perceives as meaningless”—a powerful statement backed up by research. The authors are successful in demonstrating how libraries can extend learning in deep and powerful ways. They highlight examples of student writing anecdotes from the real world and make connections between theory and practical application. While the text is grounded in research, Carroll, Barger, James, and Hill don’t neglect to present lessons and stories that reflect the true joy of reading and how magical early literacy activities can be for young children. VERDICT A must-read for early childhood educators.–Renee McGrath, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY

This review was published in the School Library Journal May 2017 issue.

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