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Edited by David Booth and Carol Thornley-Hall

Markham (Ont.), Pembroke Publishers, 1991. 118pp, paper, $12.95
ISBN 0-921217-65-X. CIP


Edited by David Booth and Carol Thornley-Hall

Markham (Ont.), Pembroke Publishers, 1991. 159pp, paper, $14.95
ISBN 0-921217-64-1. CIP

Reviewed by Gail Lennon.

Volume 19 Number 5
1991 October

David Booth, who is employed by the Ontario Ministry of Education, has gained international fame for his story-telling with children and his keynote addresses at teacher conferences. Carol Thornley-Hall is the on-site supervisor of the TALK Project with the Peel Board of Education. The two have co-edited these companion texts outlining the results of the Peel Board of Education and Ministry of Education TALK Project, in which the two parties entered into a three-year agreement in 1988 to have teachers explore the nature of classroom talk as they examined ways speaking and listening can maximize learning for every student.

The first of these two books, The Talk Curriculum, contains articles in which eight leading educators including Yetta Goodman, Gordon Wells and Judith Newman share their experiences, research and commitment to talk as a medium for learning. Each author's essay provides an overview of a dy­namic part of the talk curriculum. Topics range from "Kidwatching," "Story Talk" and 'Teacher Talk" to "Assessing Talk" and "Researching Talk." Each article is clearly written for the beginning teacher and provides insight into classroom talk that will assist even the most accomplished whole language philosophy base.

The companion volume, Classroom Talk, contains several short articles by teachers who were involved in the field studies for the TALK Project. Many of these teachers are first- or second-year teachers. Although they do not ap­proach the task of collecting data as researchers or provide a seasoned overview of several years of classroom experience, they serve as an inspiration to teachers in the field who wish to provide meaningful verbal experiences for their students. The teachers' com­mitment to the TALK curriculum and their enthusiasm for teaching shine through their writing. One is struck by the huge diversity in their projects and by the fact that talk can be infused into any curriculum regardless of the grade level or ability of the students.

Both The Talk Curriculum and Classroom Talk are excellent teacher resources in an area for which teachers do not receive a lot of guidance in teacher education. These volumes ; provide both an expert base for talk in the classroom and a host of teacher-tried ideas from recent in-classroom field testing. These books are appropriately tied together by the skilful editing and editorial comments of educators who are knowledgeable about talk and about this particular project. They have shared with us, at the end of the TALK Project, some excellent insights. It is also heart-warming to see that the profits for these books will be fed back into the Peel TALK Project so that this worthwhile endeavour may continue to flourish rather than go the way of many Ministry term projects!

I highly recommend both of these books for professional libraries, teacher education institutions, and personal teacher professional reading!

Gail Lennon, Lambton County Board of Education, Sarnia-Clearwater, Ont.
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