The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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National Writing Institute: Reading Strands - Understanding Fiction Review by John and Diane Wheeler


Stories shape our children's moral imaginations. Do you need help getting your children engaged in the discussion of great, living books? Dave Marks, of Writing Strands fame, has written Reading Strands - Understanding Fiction. Mr. Marks does a great job of reminding us that reading should be fun, and that talking about fiction with our children need not be a chore. Whether looking for help with setting goals, or learning how to initiate instructive conversation with our children, this is a book worth investing in.

There is specific instruction for the different elements of fiction (setting, characters, conflict, resolution, and point of view) including definitions, sample objectives and examples of dialogues. I appreciate the specific examples since this is not a natural skill for me.

There is extra help for young and beginning readers, and several examples of literature discussed in the back of the book. Reference pages in the back include English word roots, types of fiction, a glossary of literary terms, and graded lists of fiction recommendations.

The National Writing Institute publishes Reading Strands and can be contacted on the Internet at, or by phone at 1-800-688-5375.

Reading is an important skill, with the potential to open doors of opportunity and enjoyment for our children. Teaching them to understand fiction, without making it a miserable chore, has tremendous advantages. Great fiction can win our children's hearts and minds to a love of what is good and beautiful. Dave Marks helps with his book, Reading Strands.

-- Product Review by: John and Diane Wheeler, Senior Staff Writer's Desk, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine