Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: "A Place for Wonder"

If you’re interested in learning more about inquiry learning – currently a hot topic in the field – and if in particular you work with the primary grades, check out Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough’s book “A Place for Wonder: Reading and Writing Nonfiction in the Primary Grades”.

Georgia ‘s other books are always easy to read, user friendly, and chock-full of ideas, and this book is no different. Georgia follows Jennifer as she teaches first Kindergarteners and then first graders about nonfiction text by first tapping into their natural tendency to wonder about the world at large.

The book is organized into three long chapters: the first chapter explores centers, projects and clubs set up entice kids to wonder about the world around them. Chapter two describes the kids at they tap into their “heart” wonders – questions they have which may not be research-able, such as “Where does magic come from?” and “Why do I love my dog?” Georgia and Jennifer model for the kids how to write from the heart to address these important questions for kids. Finally, chapter three outlines 18 mini-lessons that lead kids through traditional nonfiction writing that explores “research wonders”, including lessons on leads, text features, inferring, formatting options, and elaboration.

The authors include many photos, resource lists, and vignettes of classroom life that make this book an enjoyable, quick read. They make teaching nonfiction writing to primary kids easy and fun!

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