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12 November 2005 @ 07:21 am
Orca Soundings  
So, Linda Benson sent me 4 of the latest Orca Soundings books to review. Since my husband drove me out of the bedroom at 4 am with his snoring, I decided that I would tackle some of them. In an hour, I had read and written the review of two of them. They literally take about 30 minutes to read (less when you skim which I ended up doing by the second one). So, I see the appeal to struggling readers. They are quick and rather predictable and easy to read. However, they are not the most riveting, well-written books out there. I hope educators are opening doors with these books and then quickly guiding kids to better ones. I was able to come up with connecting books readily for them and wonder if others could do the same? In any event, I am feeling rather smug about reading so many books in such little time and think struggling readers might just feel the same. So, I finished BREATHLESS (pudgy girl nearly drowns while diving since she is also dieting) and YELLOW LINE (young teen brings peace between the white and First Nations groups) and have HOME INVASION (hmmmm, what could that be about?) and SNITCH (need another clue?) to go.
 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
 
(Anonymous) on November 12th, 2005 06:07 pm (UTC)
Every book, a reader; every reader, a book

From Beth Goobie's Soundings books to _Flux_ or _Before Wings_ is a huge jump in reading level and quantity of reading; inherently limiting complexity of plot and character. For many readers, the Orca books fit to their reading ability while still addressing their developing ability to analyze character and their responses.

It takes a lot of reading and building reading skills to build from the RL of the Orca books to Before Wings. Just the size is daunting to a struggling reader. Pushing them too fast to try 'better ones', won't get them there.

Some of the Orca books push a bit too hard toward cautionary tales, which can come off as being predictable.

Last year I had several students in reading programs reading 15 or 20 of the Orca books. That they were excited by how well they followed the plots and characters and were able to discuss the book from a real connection I think speaks for how the publisher has worked to put quality writing in those readers hands. I would rather they read through that many plots and followed that many characters and their development from beginning to end than struggle through a few chapters of a more complex title and giving up, never seeing the pieces come together.

Robert Eiffert, Librarian in the Middle beiffert.net

professornanaprofessornana on November 14th, 2005 10:11 am (UTC)
Re: Every book, a reader; every reader, a book
I am not in favor pf pushing kids. However, as I was reading all these books in one sitting, I did think of some other titles that would be the next logical step. For instance, BREATHLESS could connect to REEF OF DEATH by Paul Zindel. I do not think that is a huge leap at all. However, it has more developed characters and a less predictable plot. For SNITCH, I considered CAGES by Peg Kehret. Again, not a major leap. I love the concept of reading ladders (an old concept to be sure) and have been constructing a few of them recently. For pleasure reading, kids can stick to the Soundings as long as they like. I do wonder, though, if they will tire of them and want something with more meat?
Miss Kitty Fantastica: Binkydragonchariot on November 14th, 2005 10:05 am (UTC)
I (heart) Linda Benson. She sent me a Thomas Edison book to review.