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When looking for Social Study resources one book to be sure to include are resources by Anthony D. Fredericks. I am reviewing his book More Social Studies Through Children's Literature that was written in 2000. This is a great book that any public, private, or homeschool teacher can use with ease.
He starts the book by helping the reader rethink social studies curriculum. Most social studies curriculum focuses on memorizing and recall often resulting in a boring or frustrating experience for students (and teachers). He encourages teachers to use a literature-based approach to learning. It helps all kinds of learners listed in the 8 human intelligences. He lists the advantages of this mode of teaching and compares and contrasts both literature-based and textbook-based modes of teaching. Using literature helps kids make connections that they don't usually make with textbooks.
Most teachers realize that they have to keep in mind the National Council for Social Study Standards when planning their lessons. Mr. Fredericks puts all those concerns to rest when he states that teaching with a literature-based program the standards and the method are "mutually supportive." The standards can easily be taught with a literature-based approach and also helps create a more enjoyable learning environment for both student and teacher and helps students remember better what they learned.
"These books have been selected because of their appropriateness to the social studies curriculum, their adaptability to all greads (K-6) and ability ranges (high-low), and their usefulness in promoting relevant concepts of social studies. Included are Caldecott Award winners and Caldecott Honor Books, Reading Rainbow selection, American Book Award medalists, and classics recommended by teachers and children's librarians throughout the country. In short, there is something for everyone! The literature selections have been organized around the seven major areas of the elementary social studies curriculum: self/child, family, community/neighborhood, city/country, states/regions, nation/country, and world."
The book is designed for grades K-6 although I think older students would benefit too. There are 32 books used in this book that cover all aspects of social studies from child and self, family, community, all the way on through the world. The book is set up in chapters that lists the book to be featured, a summary of the book, standards that will be met, critical thinking questions (these are key!), related books, lists of 10-20 activities including some recipes and websites suggested. The list of activities for each book is really the crux of this book. Each activity suggestion is about a paragraph long and is simple to implement.
There is plenty of material in this book to last at least a year or more. Anyone wanting to spark their children's learning who is tired of boring textbooks or doesn't want to even start using textbooks, should get this book for their social study resources. It reminds me a little bit of the Five in a Row books that we used to use with our children when they were little.
Mr. Fredericks also wrote several other books in this series:
Although I reviewed More Social Studies Through Childrens Literature: An Integrated Approach, I am sure his other books are equally as useful to parents and teachers who are looking for social study resources.
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