10-second review: In South Africa, when supplementary books were needed, teachers wrote and published books about their experiences.
Title: “Opportunity Matters: The Ithuba Writing Project in South African Schools.” M Sailors, et al. Voices form the Middle (September 2010), 8-16.
Summary: 142 teachers wrote books about their experiences in their native language for fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders. Illustrators were a part of the books’ production. An editorial committee provided a guarantee of quality. Although donated books were brought in, the costs of shipping and handling were expensive, while the cost of the teachers’ books was just 25 cents.
The teachers’ books were read by the students with enthusiasm. The books were about familiar personal experiences and in their own languages. One of the recommendations that resulted from this project was to have students publish their own books about their personal experiences.
Comment: Barbara Stopper, a first-grade teacher, from the Downingtown School District, Downingtown, Pa., developed an inexpensive method for students to create their own books about their personal experiences. She folded four or five sheets of 8 1/2” x 11” paper length-wise and stapled them at the cease. Students wrote on one-half of each page in pencil and, when finished, illustrated the ideas in the text on the other half of the page. She met with each student to help them correct spelling, punctuation, etc.
The idea could be adapted to books for middle schoolers. RayS.