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Literature Pockets Review by Heather Jackowitz

Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
18 Lower Ragsdale Drive
Monterey, California 93940

Literature Pockets are a fun way for students to interact with what they've read through discussion, writing assignments, and art projects, which are kept in tidy pockets made from construction paper. Each of the books I reviewed, Folktales and Fairytales and Greek and Roman Myths, includes eight pockets. When all eight pockets are completed, students bind them together with yarn to make their own personalized books. Each lesson should take about a week.

Each Literature Pockets book provides all the necessary stories. You will need access to a photocopy machine for the forms used to build the pockets. You will also need some basic art supplies, such as construction paper, glue, a stapler, scissors, colored pencils, and tempera paint.

Folktales and Fairytales is for second or third grade. The following eight stories are included in a two-page reproducible format:

Henny Penny
The Brave Little Tailor
The Fisherman and His Wife
Jack and the Beanstalk
The Elves and the Shoemaker
The Frog Prince
The Emperor's New Clothes
The Bremen Town Musicians

Greek and Roman Myths is for fourth through sixth grades. This book includes a comprehension and vocabulary assessment for each lesson. The following eight myths are included:

Phaëton and the Sun Chariot
Pandora's Jar
Perseus and the Gorgons
Arachne and the Weaving Contest
The Race for Atalanta
Persephone and the Seasons
Bellerophon and Pegasus
Echo and Narcissus

After reading each story, students create a pocket, label it, and make a bookmark using the provided forms. Then they discuss the story with you and perhaps try one of the "More to Explore" ideas, such as reading another version of the story and creating a Venn diagram to show similarities and differences. Next, students work on projects, which are then stored in their pockets. Here is a sampling of the types of projects you will find in each book:

Henny Penny--make an accordion book with other rhyming animal names
The Brave Little Tailor--sequence a story belt
The Fisherman and His Wife--make a stuffed fish
Jack and the Beanstalk--write from the harp's point of view
The Elves and the Shoemaker--dress a paper elf
The Frog Prince--retell the story with paper puppets
The Emperor's New Clothes--create a woven cloak for the emperor
The Bremen Town Musicians--write a song

Phaëton and the Sun Chariot--write a poem about Apollo's daily journey
Pandora's Jar--make a crayon-resist Grecian urn and fill it with "evils"
Perseus and the Gorgons--write a newspaper article about the slaying of Medusa
Arachne and the Weaving Contest--weave yarn into cloth
The Race for Atalanta--make a minibook about Greek sports
Persephone and the Seasons--write and perform a puppet show about the story
Bellerophon and Pegasus--create a "wanted" poster for the Chimaera
Echo and Narcissus--write an original myth about a natural phenomenon

Literature Pockets is an inviting way to dig deeper into stories. Most children will love making and sharing their own books, and all the necessary forms and templates are provided. It doesn't get much easier than this, and the results are quite impressive.

Product review by Heather Jackowitz, Senior Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2008