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Literature Pockets: Aesop's Fables (Grades 2-3) Review by Tammy Walker

Jo Ellen Moore and Jill Norris
Stories by Tekla White
IllustratorIllustrated by Jo Larsen
Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
18 Lower Ragsdale Drive
Monterey, CA 93940

What is a literature pocket? I only discovered these fun activities recently myself. Students make personalized books by storing activities in labeled pockets made of construction paper. And best of all, the stories and activities are all included in this reproducible resource book. This curriculum offers eight stories in which to create activities. So, at the end of this book, your student would have made eight separate pockets, loaded with crafts and writings he has created. This is a very fun way to make literature come alive to children and to begin the process of learning to analyze written works.

Your children will interact with the following fables: "The Tortoise and the Hare," "The Lion and the Mouse," "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," "The Miller, His Son, and Their Donkey," "The Milkmaid and Her Pail," "The Fox and the Goat," "The Fox and the Stork," and "The Cat, the Rooster, and the Mouse." Complete assembly instructions and attractive reproducibles are included for each lesson.

The student begins by cutting out and coloring the label for his first pocket, "The Tortoise and the Hare." The teacher is given clear instruction and ideas about how she may present the story to her student. She is then given appropriate review questions and topics for further delving into the fable. After discussing the fable, the students is encouraged to fill out a page titled "What is the Moral?" He is asked to identify and explain the moral and to write about a real-life example. Next, the student completes a craft (a medal). He and the teacher should discuss the purposes of medals and then make one for the Tortoise for winning the race. The last craft involves making a page for both the rabbit and the tortoise, describing what they look like, how they behave, and what their characters are like. For each activity, questions are offered to assist the teacher in making the lesson more interactive and meaningful. All crafts and activities are then stored in the pocket your child has labeled.

Wouldn't these make a fun Friday afternoon activity? Have your beginning reader read for the whole family. Allow each child to make his own little booklet replete with coloring pages and his budding writing. Each child will have an enjoyable keepsake and will have grown in his abilities to read, write, and think critically.

Product review by Tammy Walker, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2008