Saturday, June 13, 2009
Book Review: Reading Reminders
I cannot say that I completely read all of Jim Burke's Reading Reminders: Tools, Tips, and Techniques because that would be a lie. I have, though, had it checked out from the library for a coupla months and have been flipping through it here and there. It is now due to go back to the library, so I'm going to record my thoughts about it before I forget what I did manage to read.
The fact that I did not read this text in its entirety is not a reflection on the book but on my crazy/ busy schedule and the amount of other texts I've been reading. I would like to attempt this book again, but I actually don't know that it requires a thorough reading. The book is set up into very short, straightforward tips and explanations about a variety of strategies and techniques.
Because of its skimable (not a word, but I like it) set up, I was able to find some really cool, student-centered, artistic ideas that I will definitely use next year. In particular, there are some promising graphic organizers that I plan to use in several of the classes I teach. I try not to use too many graphic organizers, because I feel like kids tend to get bombarded with them and they're not always that effective. The ones I found in this text seemed to truly organize thought and encourage deep thought. I liked that Burke included tons of students samples in this book. I look for student samples because I think that real samples often show me more about how I could use a potential strategy than do the instructions offered by the author.
Though this text is getting somewhat dated (published in 2000), most of the ideas are fresh and relevant. Those that seem dated could easily be updated by adding-in new technologies. Really, this text seems user-friendly and timeless in its quality and understanding of the process of teaching and learning. Also, the ideas in this text could translate easily to content areas other than English. I look forward to finding more texts by this author.