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Kalli Dakos

Toronto, Scholastic-TAB, 1989. 40pp, paper, $5.95
ISBN 0-590-73354-0. CIP

Reviewed by Agnes L. Florence.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

A light-hearted guidebook for the whole-language approach to language arts, self-expression and creative writing by a teacher who left the classroom, worked as a journalist for several years, and then returned to teaching. This little volume is the product of her fresh look at classroom life - her recognition of prospects and possibilities not seen earlier.

With a wealth of examples from her new teaching experiences from Inuvik to Reno to Great Falls, Virginia, Dakos urges freedom of expression, the use of day-to-day incidents and children's conversation to generate spontaneous verse creation with an individual or a group. Shared feelings, making sense out of life, developing a sense of wonder, learning to savour life in all its usual aspects become starting points for oral language. Oral language in turn becomes a starting point for writing and developing the gift of imagination, or for satisfying a child's "need to be heard." In time, this leads to individual books, anthologies of student stories, dramatization, group stories, journals and diaries.

Her summary: "This is what whole language is all about. It is language used for the growth of children in the most complete sense, language that services children in their day-to-day world, language that is a medium for celebrating life, and language that accepts children as they are today and lays the foundations for healthy growth tomorrow."

While many of the ideas expressed here will be familiar to a number of experienced teachers, this collection will expand practises already in use and encourage experimentation with whole-language techniques. A short bibliography is included.

Strongly recommended for elementary schools.

Agnes L. Florence, Winnipeg, Man.
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