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Literacy from Day One.

Pat Barrett Dragan. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2001. 118 pp. Dragan's eminently readable book provides ample evidence that immersion literacy programs can be successful. She demonstrates how to begin this program as early as the first day of school, offering many personal examples from her 1st-grade classroom.

Dragan uses an Overnight Book Program (what she calls "probably the most powerful thing" she has ever done in the classroom) to provide a school-home literacy connection. She believes that everything developing readers and writers need to understand about literacy can be learned by sharing books with their families and engaging in a range of literacy activities. This program is described in detail, including instructions on collecting books, organizing the system, and managing it.

At-home reading programs are neither unique nor limited in their scope. What is unique in this book is how Dragan connects the reading program to the daily classroom literacy curriculum. She describes how to use children's individual book choices for group literacy activities. She provides many examples of comprehension questions and games that can be used for nearly any book. For example, she asks the children to "stand up if the character gets in trouble and is sent to their room."

A teacher for 30 years, Dragan constantly finds ways to encourage her students' literacy in the classroom and at home. This book is divided into nine chapters, each describing a method to help students make connections between reading and writing. Photographs and examples of work from Dragan's students supplement the text. The appendices include resources for teachers, as well as instructions for making some of the materials described in earlier chapters. The informal writing style and numerous examples will help new teachers integrate a literacy program into their classes, or even inspire an experienced teacher who is seeking a new approach to literacy. Reviewed by Mary Ellen Bardsley, student, University of Buffalo, NY
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Bardsley, Mary Ellen
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 6, 2002
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