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Subdomain 602.8 – Teaching Methods — Literacy & Elementary Reading, Annotated Bibliography Example

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Words: 1473

Annotated Bibliography

Shange, N. (2004). Ellington was not a street. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

This book fits well into the third grade reading level for African American culture.  Through the genre of a children’s poetry book, author Ntozake Shange writes a story through poetry remembering a childhood in which many of her family’s friends were famous African American men throughout history such as W.E.B. DuBois, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington.  Although the book has traditionally been well-reviewed for its incorporation of a biographical note on famous African American men found throughout the poem, it has received some negative reviews arguing that Shange failed to showcase the famous women during this time period.  Despite this negative view, the story helps children to identify major historical figures throughout history not only through Shange’s famous poem, but also in the biographical notes telling about the lives of each of these major figures in African American and United States history.

Greenfield, E. (2011). The great migration : jorney to the north. New York: HarperCollins Children’s Books.

This book is also an African American cultural book that would be best geared towards children in the third grade reading level.  To determine the reading level for this book, I used the Fry readability formula and counted the number of syllables and the number of sentences throughout three 100-word passages.  The number of syllables from each passage was 113, 108 and 116 respectively.  The number of sentences from each passage was 7.2, 6.2 and 7.8 respectively.  After finding these results, I graphed these corresponding plots on the Fry Graph.  Based on the results of this formula, I determined that the appropriate reading level for this book would be the third grade.  This story is a children’s history book sharing stories of African American families traveling from the South out of the bondage of slavery into the northern United States.  The stories are each told from different perspectives i.e. young girl, father, mother, child, etc.  This helps the children reading the story to identify with the different tales expresses within each of the short stories.

Wong, J. S. (1996). A suitcase of seaweed, and other poems . New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.

This book is an excellent compilation of children’s poems about Asian American experiences from the author’s childhood.  Although the book does not directly refer to the author’s childhood, it has been stated by the author that it is a reflection on her childhood.  Each poem tells a different unique story about Asian American culture including family customs, food recipes, and children’s games that are played.  This book is a quality second grade reading level collection of children’s poetry.  Although it has not historically been well-received, it is one of the few Asian American children’s books available to appeal to this specific culture in the classroom.  Perhaps one of the greatest pieces of this story is that it educates other children about the Asian American culture and refutes the belief that they are only a fortune cookie culture.

Bruchac, J. (2000). Pushing up the sky : seven native american plays for children. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.

This book is a Native American children’s book with a series of plays geared around discussing the customs and trends of modern Native American life with a push towards historical customs.  These customs include religious customs such as rain dances, famous Native American tales and the importance of family.  Each play is independent from the other.  I also chose to use the Fry readability formula for this book.  I chose two different plays within this story and counted the number of sentences and syllables from 100-word passages in each play.  In the first play, there were 122 syllables and 6.5 sentences.  In the second play, there were 120 syllables and 8 full sentences.  In the third play, there were 124 syllables and 7.2 sentences.  After plotting these points on the Fry Graph, I concluded that this would be a good children’s book for a 4th or 5th grade classroom.

Dorros, A. (2002). When the pigs took over. New York: Dutton Children’s Books.

This is an excellent Mexican children’s book which retells an old Native American fable about a small village in Mexico that has been bombarded by mice.  This story is a third grade reading level and helps children understand the value of making good decisions.  Every solution that the village attempts to use to rid them of the mice creates a new unforeseen problem.  Perhaps the greatest component of this story is the bilingual aspect of the book.  It is written primarily in English, but also has Spanish sentences underneath in order to assist the teacher in not only appealing to Spanish-speaking students but could also be used to help teachers in a curriculum that teaches Spanish language to the class.

Kimel, E. A. (2004). Cactus soup. New York: Cavendish Children’s Books.

Cactus Soup is a story about a group of hungry soldiers that come upon a town where the townspeople have hidden all of the food.  This is a 4th grade reading level children’s book educating the children both on the Mexican Revolution as well as the importance of good manners and trust as the soldiers charm the people of the town into helping them make a soup using nothing more than water and a thorn from a cactus.  This fits well into the Mexican culture genre and helps children understand the difficulties that people and armies faced during a difficult time in history.

Hopkins, L. B. (2009). City I love. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers in association with the Field Museum.

This is another children’s book written in poetic verse.  The main character, a young child, tells of the joys experienced within New York City.  This is an excellent story from an Urban genre for a 3rd grade reading level geared towards children living in the city.  The story compares buildings to tall castles and cars as monstrous enemies that are seeking to harm the people.  Ultimately, the story concludes in the “happy place” where the child plays in Central Park.  The joy of reading this story is that children are able to experience the fun parts of a city and express the components of the city that could appeal to children through a creative imagination.

Brown, P. (2009). The curious garden. New York: Little, Brown & Co.

This story is perfect for a 1st grade classroom.  It fits into the urban genre while also having a rural component to it.  The story involves a young boy whose sole goal is to make the world around him so much greener.  The boy lives in a city that is full of gray and dirty streets and buildings.  To combat this, the boy find an old garden where the plants are dying and he works hard to transform the garden into a beautiful, plentiful garden.  As he makes this transformation of the garden, the city also transforms from gray and dark to clean and full of bright, beautiful colors.  The vivid imagery throughout the story is also a key component to a young classroom and help them truly imagine the events taking place.

Siddals, M. M. (2010). Compost stew. New York: Tricycle Press.

This book is best for 1st graders during a curriculum plan for recycling or improving the environment.  The book is written in rhyming phrases and includes unique collage-style illustrations to accompany the events in the story.  The story essentially tells the “recipe” of creating an environmentally-friendly “stew” focusing on the benefits of recycling.  The main character takes natural foods from gardens and recyclable materials to put into one big pot that also improves the world around her in the story’s pictures.  The story uses simple prose to tell the events and all of the pieces that are put into the pot to make the wonderful Compost Stew that ends up being enjoyed by everyone at the culmination of the book’s events.

Beaty, A. (2007). Iggy peck, architect. New York: Harry N. Abrams.

This book is another 1st grade reading level story.  It fits into the rural genre and tells a story of a young boy named Iggy whose main passion is to transform the world around him into an incredible city through building buildings all around him.  He uses his toys and almost anything else (including dirty diapers) that he could find to turn his room into a hustling, bustling city.  Iggy faces a major problem one day when his second grade teacher tells the class that she dislikes architecture!  The illustrations throughout the book are designed to have been made by a young child to help appeal to the mind-set of the children reading the story.  Not only will children get to experience the importance of an imagination in this book, but they also experience a key challenge from the position of an authority figure in Iggy’s life.

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