Deconstructing Penguins

My infatuation with Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone continues!

Jumping on the book club bandwagon of the early 1990’s Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone began a reading group for elementary aged children (initially second through fourth graders and later sixth through eighth) and their parents.  The idea was that the child and their parent(s) would read the assigned book then meet for a guided discussion with the Goldstones as moderators.

Deconstructing Penguins is a course guide of sorts. Using the Socratic Method, the authors guide the readers to solving the mystery of “what is the book about?” The Goldstones use excerpts from their discussions to show how they used books such as Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Animal Farm, Charlotte’s Web and The Giver to teach literary principles and critical thinking.

Goodreads link

I consider myself to be a fairly literate person. My natural cynicism pushes me to always ask “what is the author (or director) trying to say?” But this book still had a lot to teach me. I particularly appreciated their definition of protagonist and antagonist — something that always slightly alluded me.

The Goldstones’ is an approach I certainly look forward to employing with my own children as they grow up. Already Evangeline can retell a story with some prompting and we are both excited for her to learn and grow in her reading capacity. This is a great (quick) read for anyone who interacts with children — librarians, parents, teachers or all of the above.

So for those of you keeping track at home, I am open to gift copies of Out of the Flames, Used and Rare and now Deconstructing Penguins all by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. The problem with checking out library books is that when I like the book I regret not buying it in the first place.

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One thought on “Deconstructing Penguins

  1. Pingback: The Chips are Down on 2013 | Being the Carruths

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