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Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Readingby Lawrence Goldston and Nancy Goldstone
The Goldstones, who have been running parent-child book groups for six years, deliver a fabulous and entertaining book on how to read children's books with children, using examples from a range of reading levels (from second grade, like Charlotte's Web, to fifth grade, like A Wrinkle in Time). The Goldstones demonstrate techniques for uncovering the hidden meanings or "mysteries" behind the stories using lively anecdotes and real-life discussions they've had with the kids in their book groups. Whether you pick this up as "kids say the darndest things" entertainment, you genuinely are interested in starting a book group, or you just need a refresher on literary criticism, this is a fun, easy resource.
Synopses & Reviews
"Books are like puzzles," write Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. "The author's ideas are hidden, and it is up to all of us to figure them out." In this indispensable reading companion, the Goldstones — noted parent-child book club experts — encourage grownups and young readers alike to adopt an approach that will unlock the magic and power of reading.
With the Goldstones' help, parents can inspire kids' lifelong love of reading by teaching them how to unlock a book's hidden meaning. Featuring fun and incisive discussions of numerous children?s classics, this dynamic guide highlights key elements — theme, setting, character, point of view, climax, and conflict — and paves the way for meaningful conversations between parents and children.
"Best of all," the Goldstones note, "you don't need an advanced degree in English literature or forty hours a week of free time to effectively discuss a book with your child. This isn't Crime and Punishment, it's Charlotte's Web."
"The benefits of learning to understand rich, layered narratives extend 'far beyond the scope of fiction,' say the authors, who lead a renowned book group for children and their parents at their small town library and who have written several other books on the subject of reading (Warmly Inscribed, etc.). Competing against Superbowl Sunday and countless other activities, their first attempt at a reading group was stacked against the odds. But because of their unusual ability to make reading fun and meaningful, their program has become a standard for parent-child reading groups around the country. This book, meant as a guide for those who want to set up their own reading clubs, offers a fantastic reading list beginning with Mr. Popper's Penguins for second graders and ending with The Time Machine for fifth graders. Many of the actual library sessions are discussed in detail, demonstrating the authors' terrific techniques for helping kids and parents see and debate the layers underlying the story, plot, characterizations, point of view and themes. 'The highlight of almost any discussion is the discovery of what the author has implanted at the core of the book,' they say. A distinguished work full of humor and wisdom, their book suggests that by encouraging children to read and talk about the mystery of complex, substantial books, parents and teachers can greatly expand young peoples' worlds and ultimately their life choices. As a lesson in how to enrich child-parent relationships, this book is great. " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This insightful book can be immensely helpful as we strive to resurrect literacy among children. With Deconstructing Penguins, kids and their parents can share in the enlightened adventure of active interpretation during reading. As a result, they will become more avid and able interpreters of their own life experiences." Mel Levine, M. D., author of A Mind at a Time
"Not just the single best book on leading a book discussion group, Deconstructing Penguins is also about how to dig a tunnel into the heart of a book. In my ideal world, every reading teacher would trash that boring classroom text and adopt this book as a curriculum bible." Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook
"This wonderful, easy-to-read guide will be a tremendous resource for librarians, teachers, and parents who want to help kids experience the joys of children?s literature." Sally G. Reed, executive director, Friends of Libraries U.S.A.
The leaders of an acclaimed parent-child book group reveal their method for creating active, engaged readers.
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