Language Arts Professional Books

These books were first reviewed in Teaching K-8 Magazine by Carol Otis Hurst.


Hurst, Carol. Open Books: Literature in the Curriculum Kindergarten through Grade Two

Published by Linworth ISBN 0938865773. Order through or call Linworth at 1-800-786-5017 to order.

Hurst, Carol and Rebecca Otis. Using Literature in the Middle School Curriculum

Published by Linworth 1999. ISBN 0938865730. Order through or call Linworth at 1-800-786-5017 to order.

Hurst, Carol and Rebecca Otis. Friends and Relations: Using Literature With Social Themes, K-2.

Published by Northeast Foundation for Children 1999. ISBN 1892989026. Call Northeast Foundation for Children at 1-800-360-6332 to order.

Hurst, Carol. Curriculum Connections: Picture Books in Grades 3 and Up

Published by Linworth, 1999. ISBN 0938865706. Order through or call Linworth at 1-800-786-5017 to order.

Gertz, Susan et al. Teaching Physical Science Through Children's Literature.

McElmeel, Sharron. My Bag of Book Tricks (Teacher Ideas Press, Libraries Unlimited, PO Box 3988, Englewood, Colorado 80155) The same author previously gave us An Author a Month for Pennies (same publisher) which we mentioned in an earlier issue and Book Tricks is equally useful. This time she concentrates on themes and gives us extensive lists of books to support those themes. As a practicing librarian herself, McElmeel gives us ideas we can use to brighten up our libraries and strengthen the programs in it.

McElmeel, Sharron. An Author a Month for Pennies (Libraries Unlimited, 1988 ISBN 0-87287-661-6). It's a wonderfully complete book with lots of useful information and ideas librarians and teachers have been looking for.

Hurst, Carol Otis. Once Upon a Time: An Encyclopedia for Successfully Using Literature with Young Children (Grades PreK-2) (SRA/McGraw Hill, 1990).

Hurst, Carol Otis. Long Ago and Far Away...: An Encyclopedia for Successfully Using Literature with Intermediate Readers (Grades 3-6) (SRA/McGraw Hill, 1991).

Hurst, Carol Otis and Rebecca Otis. In Times Past: An Encyclopedia for Integrating US History with Literature in Grades 3-8. (SRA/McGraw Hill, 1993. Order from

Hurst, Carol Otis. Picture Book Guides. (SRA/McGraw Hill 1995-1996.)

Hurst, Carol Otis and Rebecca Otis. Picturing Math: Using Picture Books in the Math Curriculum. (SRA/McGraw Hill 1996. Order from

Johnson, Terry D. and Daphne R. Louis. Literacy Through Literature (Heinemann, 1987 ISBN 0-435-08451-8).
Johnson, Terry D. and Daphne R. Louis. Bringing It All Together, a Program for Literacy (Heinemann, 1990 ISBN 0-435-08502-6).
Both books offer practical suggestions for using literature in general and in specific with children. They also, especially in the last book, give you the framework into which to put the activity. It's not the kind of the book where you open it, grab an activity and run, however. It's a book where you find several practical ways to use a given piece of literature with a class or an individual.



Diane Stephens' Research on Whole Language: Support for a New Curriculum (Richard Owens, 1991 ISBN 1-878450-13-1.) It's a survey of the available research and a summation of its findings. There are weaknesses or holes in that research: most of it was done with lower grade children and has focused on one or two aspects of the whole language program. These are directions for further research and Stephens points them out. While few of even the most dedicated of us will curl up with a good book on research, most of us need access to it at one time or another.

Whole Language: Getting Started Moving Forward (Richard C. Owen, 1991 ISBN 0 913461 19 9) by Linda Crafton is a book for you if you're just getting started in whole language.

Although not all teachers who use cooperative learning techniques are whole language teachers and vice versa, the philosophies are compatible so I've included a good cooperative learning book here. By Susan S. Ellis and Susan F. Whalen (Scholastic 1990 ISBN 0-590-49092-3), it's called Cooperative Learning, Getting Started.

On Their Side: Helping Children Take Charge of Their Learning - by Bob Strachota.

This book uses examples from the author's own teaching tenure to illustrate the importance of discerning the real issues in a problem and asking real questions to engage students and teachers in the process of problem solving. While not technically a whole language book, this approach is very compatible with the whole language philosophy.


We all know that even the most well-meaning parent can undo what you're doing at school because of a lack of understanding of what's going on and because of the feeling that change has to be bad. There's an excellent book for parents called Raising Readers: Helping Your Child to Literacy by Steven Bialostok (Peguis, 1992 ISBN 1-895411-37-8.)



Robert and Marlene McCracken's Stories, Songs and Poetry to Teach Reading and Writing Literacy through Language - (Peguis, 1987 ISBN 0-920541-35-6) is far from new, but it has some wonderful techniques for helping readers interact with text.

Terry D. Johnson and Daphne R. Louis' Bringing It All Together, a Program for Literacy (Heinemann, 1990 ISBN 0-435-08502-6) does a nice job of doing just what the title suggests, bringing together theory and practice in whole language activities.

Nancie Atwell has compiled a series of articles about reading in the content areas in Coming to Know: Writing to Learn in the Intermediate Grades.

Bobbi Fisher's Joyful Learning: A Whole Language Kindergarten (Heinemann, 1991 ISBN 0-435-08569-7) gets down to the basics of how to implement a whole language classroom in kindergarten.

John Warren Stewig's Read to Write, Using Children's Literature as a Springboard for Teaching Writing (Richard C. Owen, Publishers, 1990 ISBN 0-913461-16-4). Stewig argues for a bit more structure in the literature program than some whole language theorists promote. You'll find lots of ideas for extending literature and, more importantly, why you should do them.

Another good import from Australia for whole language work, You Can't Make a Book in a Day by Bronwen Scarffe and Lorraine Wilson. Illustrated by Philip Gray (Robert Andersen Assoc. 318b Glenferrie Road, Malvern, Victoria, Australia ISBN 0-949133-18-3). With all the emphasis on writing in libraries and classrooms, we need such books as this which, in very clear format, outline ideas and suggestions for turning kids' writing into published books. There are chapters on: the role of the teacher in keeping in touch, developing awareness, steps in publishing, the classroom publishing area, making contact with authors and publishers, and some ditto masters for decision making. There's also a very good bibliography. If the process has been defeating you, this book may offer some help.



Thanks to the work of Richard Gentry and others, most of us are now aware that spelling is developmental rather than an either/or, rote memory skill. However, after we accept that fact, what do we do with it? Ignore spelling, assuming that sooner or later, students will grow into it? Go on using some adaptation of the words of the week technique? Several books offer suggestions.

I very much like the book Spelling Instruction that Makes Sense by Jo Phenix and Doreen Scott-Dunne (Oryx, 1992.)

David Booth has compiled a series of writings called Spelling Links: Reflections on Spelling and Its Place in the Curriculum (Pembroke, 1991 ISBN 0-921217-69-2.)

Ethel Buchanan's Spelling for Whole Language Classrooms (Whole Language Consultants, available through Richard C. Owen, 1989 ISBN 0-921253-17-6) is an attempt to make connections between a theory of spelling development, instruction and evaluation.



Robert J. Tierney, , Mark A. Carter, and Laura E. Desai studied the use of portfolios in local school systems for three years before they compiled Portfolio Assessment in the Reading-Writing Classroom (Christopher Gordon, 1991 ISBN 0-926842-08-0.)