In the Strange, Strange Woodby Gail W. Bell

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  • In the Strange, Strange Wood by Gail W. BellReview by: Donna S. DemianThe Reading Teacher, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Dec., 1972), pp. 321-322Published by: Wiley on behalf of the International Reading AssociationStable URL: .Accessed: 24/06/2014 22:35

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  • Every chapter is rich in vivid description, conversation, and examples. Perhaps the greatest contribution of the book is its practicality. The author tells practically what was

    done and how it was done. While the problems and solu

    tions are limited to the particular situations described in

    the book, all chapters contain several workable and achiev

    able suggestions that could be used by teachers in other

    schools attended by children from foreign speaking homes.

    The book has warmth, compassion, understanding; it

    sparkles with reality; it is colorful; withal it is education

    ally sound.

    And, oh yes, the unusual title! How come?

    In the countries from which these children had migrated spinsterhood was unknown. They were deeply distressed

    because their "Miss" was unmarried. Puzzled and unhappy,

    they discussed the matter endlessly. To quote: "In all their young lives they had never met

    or heard of an unmarried woman living alone. 'Nobody in

    house?' they exclaimed, their eyes wide with pity, 'Only

    you?' and were not comforted when she told them that she

    had two lovely cats to keep her company. Little Sharifa came next day with an old brass curtain ring and pushed it on her finger. 'A Wedding Man,' she said firmly, 'is nicer

    than cats, Miss/ "

    In the Strange, Strange Wood, by Gail W. Bell; illustrated by McRay Magleby. Hardcover, 28 pages, $2.25, copyright 1972. Brigham Young University Press, Station One, Box

    296, Provo, Utah 84601. Reviewed by Donna S. Demian,

    Oxford, Ohio.

    In the Strange, Strange Wood reflects the design of our times, that is, a combination of classical construction and

    contemporary creativity. The classical construction is out

    lined in the story of a little boy who lives in a house by the woods?that woods holding excitement which only he

    discovers on a rainy day when no one will play with him. The contemporary creativity unfolds in the invention of new words for natural phenomena, such as the rumblot, the red spotted kangaree and the orange and green triple tree. The aliveness sparked by new words is extended into the colorful and original illustrations by McRay Magleby.

    The blend of the classical and contemporary in this book forms a beautiful picture of the meaning of self-discovery. The little boy is led into such deep involvement in the woods that he actually becomes the centipede, a definite

    advantage while escaping from a kangaree, and another

    tribute to the unity of text and drawing. The involvement

    of self-discovery is more than a picture one can gain from

    this book. This "wood of words" could be a great stimulus

    in both language and speech development. Children could

    become these characters in a short playlet, in which the

    animals create their own sounds. (I'm auditioning for the

    part of the yellow feeper.) This experience could be ex

    tended into creating further dialogue for all the characters, or writing a similar, yet new playlet.

    In the Strange, Strange Wood is the first in a series that will concentrate on different sounds and rhythms. If a simi


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  • lar balance of constructionism and creativity can be main

    tained in future volumes, this series could prove to be a

    renewing breath in language development.

    resources Basic Concepts in Reading Instruction?A Programmed

    Approach, by Arnold Burron and Amos L. Claybaugh. Pa

    perback, 129 pages, $2.95, copyright 1972. Charles E. Mer

    rill Publishing Company, 1300 Alum Creek Drive, Colum bus, Ohio 43216. Reviewed by W. Dorsey Hammond, Oak

    land University, Rochester, Michigan._

    The authors of this programed text state that their purpose for writing the book was twofold: 1) To serve as a supple

    ment to a professional text by presenting selected basic

    concepts in the teaching of reading which can be used by a student as a preview or review of a wider discussion of

    the topics initiated herein, and 2) To facilitate the begin ning student's identification, organization, and retention of

    selected basic concepts in teaching of reading by eliciting his active participation in completing the programed les


    To some extent the first purpose is met. The presentation of basic concepts is such that their use for preview or re

    view could enhance a more indepth study of the topics. In

    fulfillment of the second purpose, however, the authors

    seem to have missed their goal. To their credit the authors have not made grandiose

    claims about the book. The content is more superficial than

    it need be and the programed instruction format lends

    itself to this superficiality. The reader can "complete" the

    book with a minimum of active involvement. As a general

    rule, the answers required to get closure do not require the reader to think deeply about what is being read. The

    answers consistently require such terms as: "individualized

    instruction," "critical thinking," "individual," "method,"

    "approaches," "skills," and so forth. The danger is that

    the reader will pick up much jargon and "in terms" but

    very little understanding of the concepts of reading. With

    this level of activity there is also the danger of students

    searching merely for correct words and therefore missing the value of these concepts. The less sophisticated student

    may be lulled into a false sense of security by being able to bandy about terms with little understanding of their

    meaning or application. We don't need to encourage more

    of this type of thinking or behavior with students at either

    the preservice or inservice level.

    The lessons on "Informal Techniques of Assessment";

    "The Informal Reading Inventory and The Cloze Test Pro

    cedure" are a refreshing exception to the lack of opportu

    nity for the reader to go beyond a literal recall level in

    responding to the programed format. In these two lessons

    the reader is required to interpret and apply basic concepts. For this reason the book could be an appropriate supple mental text for a class in reading diagnosis. However, it

    does not include any treatment of miscue analysis, an im

    portant aspect of reading diagnosis. The remaining lessons unfortunately are not as strong.

    The Introduction, "Developing a Definition of Reading,"

    322 The Reading Teacher December 1972

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    Article Contentsp. 321p. 322

    Issue Table of ContentsThe Reading Teacher, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Dec., 1972), pp. 259-352Front MatterEditorial: Testing and the Classroom Teacher [pp. 260-263]Evaluation and Reading: Perspective '72 [pp. 264-267]Informal Teacher Testing in Reading [pp. 268-272]Informal Reading Inventories: Diagnosis within the Teacher [pp. 273-277]Criterion Referenced Measurement: An Alternative [pp. 278-281]Criterion Referenced Tests: Let the Buyer Beware! [pp. 282-285]Interpreting and Using Test Norms [pp. 286-292]National Assessment of Elementary Reading [pp. 293-298]Reading Tests in 1970 versus 1980: Psychometric versus Edumetric [pp. 299-302]Testing Reading: Product versus Process [pp. 303-304]Reporting Test Data in the Media: Two Case Studies [pp. 305-310]The Clip Sheet [pp. 312-313, 315, 317]Critically SpeakingBooks for ChildrenReview: untitled [pp. 320-321]Review: untitled [pp. 321-322]

    Professional ResourcesReview: untitled [pp. 322-323]Review: untitled [pp. 323, 325]Review: untitled [p. 325-325]Review: untitled [pp. 325, 327]Review: untitled [pp. 327, 329]

    Classroom MaterialsReview: untitled [pp. 329, 331]Review: untitled [pp. 331, 333]Review: untitled [pp. 333, 335, 337]Review: untitled [pp. 337, 339, 341]

    Briefly Noted [p. 341-341]

    ERIC/RCS [pp. 344-351]Back Matter