Sunday, April 27, 2014

Reading: Time for Kids - X, Why, Z?

Published by Time for Kids Books in 2013
Photo courtesy of babyrazzi.com
Why do so many houses have a pointed roof? 

Why does an igloo keep people warm? 

Why do dogs dig holes?

If you've ever wondered about any of these questions, you can find the answer in Time for Kids - W, X, Why?, a book of questions and answers for children.  I purchased this book last month for my classroom library, and since then, it has been a big hit among my students.  This child-friendly informational text is filled with vibrant photographs, intriguing questions, and answers written in a simple form that even struggling readers can decode and comprehend.   While it is an excellent non-fiction book for struggling readers, it only answers questions at a surface level but does open the door for further research. 

With this text, students can practice using non-fiction text features in a meaningful way; they can use the table of contents to find sections they want to peruse, an index to find common words in the text, headings, and photographs to further expand their knowledge.  The contents of this text include human body, animals, nature, earth and space, inventions, places, and history.

For my own personal use, this book is great to go to as a reference.  For example, if we are studying animal adaptations and a student asks, "Why are flamingos pink?" we can quickly turn to this book to find a quick and simple answer.  The answers in this book are quick and simple, but they still leave me with many more questions to ponder.  In fact, some of the answers seem too rushed, too obvious, and if the authors of this book wanted to take the questions even deeper, I think they should have asked, "How?"  

For example, one of the questions that the authors explore is, "Why do cats purr?"  Their answer: "Purring makes cats feel good.  Cats will purr when they are happy.  Kittens purr to tell their mom, 'I'm okay!' "  Now, I have known for most of my life that cats purr when they are happy, but I still want to know: How can they purr?  Is it automatic, or is it something that they conscientiously do?  From one perspective, this book does not dive deep into rich answers that really give students a thorough understanding of anything.  From another perspective, it touches upon many subjects and cannot possibly go too deep without becoming an encyclopedia; however, it can open the door for further research if a child finds that he/she is especially interested in something.  The best thing open this book is that it encourages children to ask questions, as that is the way they will learn more and the way they will discover information about the things they are interested in. 

As a teacher, I love finding books that my students are engaged with, and this book has certainly been a favorite!  There are many other books in the Time for Kids series that you can find at your local library. 

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