Monday, November 2, 2009

Great Book for Parents, Teachers, and Writers of Children Materials

This week's blog will be focusing on some book reviews. We'll take a quick peek at a book for writers, a devotional ,a fiction book, a non-fiction Christian book, and a surprise book on Friday..  I've picked books that are not necessarily on the top seller list. You can probably find a review of those books easily. I want to tell you about a few of my favorites, whether they are new to my bookshelf or been there a long time. Today's review is on a book aimed at writers of books for children, but I think parents and teachers might want to take note of this one also. 

Children’s Writer’s Word Book by Alijandra Mogilner
Review by Judy Vandiver

I recently found an excellent reference book marketed for writers of Children’s books. However, this book would also be great in any parents home where they want to help their child learn to read. I believe it’s a must-have book for parents of home schooled children, or any parent that wants to encourage a child in his or her reading skills.

The book contains several easy-to-refer-to sections. There are some general items to note about children, their reading skills, national standards, and benchmarks.

The next section contains words by grade level from kindergarten through 6th grade and middle school. I asked a highly respected kindergarten teacher to look at the lists. She said there were a few words on the list that were not on standardized list used in the public school. She added that these words should not be too hard for a kindergarten level and that each level seemed appropriate or slightly challenging for each grade level.

For writers, this section would help pick appropriate wording for the specific age level you wish to target with your writing. For parents, what a great way to see how many words your child can read. Find out if they are on an appropriate reading level for their grade level. If not, you have a great list of words to help them learn.

One of my grandsons is in first grade and considered a good reader. I was surprised that he could read at the third grade level. He challenged himself and tried to read the fourth grade level words. He’s an over-achiever and will soon master words that were difficult for him on the first read-through.

If you know of a family that home schools, this book would make an excellent gift to add to their home library.

The third section of the book is a thesaurus and is perfect for anyone writing to and for children. Whether writing a book, a magazine article, a school lesson, or a note, this thesaurus helps you locate a word appropriate for the grade level of the reader. Here are two examples from the book.

The book indicates symptom as a 6th grade level word. However, you might try the following words per different age levels; evidence (5th); feature (3rd); sign (1st); signal (4th); symbol (5th), trait (6th). I might write, “His fever was a symptom of the flu,” if writing for a sixth grader. But a first grader would understand the sentence better if I wrote, “His fever was a sign that he had the flu.” But as I research the word list further, I find that fever is a fourth grade level word. I could help a first grader understand and read the sentence for him or herself, if I wrote.” He feels hot, a sign that he is sick.”

The thesaurus can help lower the expectation of reading level, but it can also help write in a way that will challenge the young reader. A kindergartner should be able to read and understand the word true. However, if writing for a middle school reader, the word legitimate might be more challenging. This is the best thesauruses I have found for finding grade level appropriate words...

The author has listed a few resources for writers and parents, which include recommended readings for writers’ of children’s books, sources used for the word lists, and a state by state listing of The Departments of Education for U. S. States and Territories. Information includes address, phone, fax, TTY, and web site.

This book is high on my list of recommendations for writers of children’s books and articles, teachers, and parents. If you fall into one of those groups and wish to help children become better readers, I don’t think this book will disappoint you.

Review of Children’s Writers Word Book – copyright 2009 by Judy Vandiver

Read more about the book and how to order it through Amazon by clicking on the link below.