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Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children's Learning Paperback – January 1, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-1571103895 ISBN-10: 1571103899

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571103899
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571103895
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This small book is packed with big ideas about the importance of teacher language." - Instructor


"Not only is the information important, but reading Choice Words will make you a better communicator with anyone, anywhere." - Language Arts


"This slim book will provoke conversation and question in professional development discussions and serves as a beginning for inquiry into vocabulary as cultural practice." - NERA Journal


"In this accessible, exciting, and important book, teachers will find rich examples of ways to consciously use language to build classroom communities." - Voices from the Middle


"This is a powerful book, one that will reinforce the language thoughtful teachers employ to help students become independent active learners." - English Journal


"Teachers can use this book as a guide to enhancing the climates in their classrooms, and encourage their students to development agency." - Education Book Review


"Now, when someone asks me "What is your favorite book?" I must say, 'Considering all the fiction, nonfiction, books, articles, children's books, magazines, and professional texts I have read over almost forty years, my favorite piece of writing is Choice Words.'" - LiteracyHead blog 

Customer Reviews

A must read for ever teacher, regardless of age group.
Diana Harn
Peter Johnston's new book Choice Words - How Our Language Affects Children's Learning grew out of his work with exemplary teachers.
R. Payne
I would especially recommend this book for any new teacher.
R. Graviss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 89 people found the following review helpful By R. Payne on March 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Peter Johnston's new book Choice Words - How Our Language Affects Children's Learning grew out of his work with exemplary teachers. For the past decade, Johnston and his colleagues have observed, interviewed, and reported on what makes an effective teacher. A key aspect of his research centers on the language teachers use in the classroom with their students. This thin, teacher-friendly volume is filled with excerpts from real classrooms and gives the reader a sense of eavesdropping on some of the best instruction in the country. Johnston turns the traditional idea of teacher as keeper-of-information on its head and invites the reader to consider the alternatives. Through a classroom community of social justice and democracy, children learn to question themselves and build agency as they emerge into the literate world.

Johnston's goal is to build a sense of agency within each student that ultimately adds to the larger classroom community. This idea of agency involves a child's sense of himself and his abilities. By developing the child's personal narrative of success, rehearsed frequently as a self-reminder and teaching tool for classmates, the teacher equips him with a knowledge and self-awareness that feeds on itself. The child becomes confident when new problems appear and moves through familiar steps of problem solving. Questions like "How did you figure that out?" and "What problems did you come across today?" underscore the idea that problems are not failures, but rather normal occurrences that can be overcome by using certain strategies. In addition to building these powerful narratives, teachers can reflect a child's knowledge through questions that solicit thorough explanations for what is known and draw connections between ideas. Questions like "How did you know that?", "How else . . . ?" and "How could we check?" enable students to articulate what they know and construct deeper meaning.

Trust me, it's a good one!
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By S. S. Rea on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
I couldn't put it down--which is often said of a novel, but maybe not so often about a professional book. I truly read the book for six hours, and only took a few breaks. I started out highlighting what I found provocative, but soon realized that that wasn't enough. I got out my post-its, and began to note bits of wisdom I didn't want to forget. I think I must have added 50 post-its!! It's not that the information is so new, but rather that it is such a reminder and "emphasizer" about how we talk to children, and treat them in our classrooms. I thank Mr. Johnston for his thoughtful approach, and love the organization of the book. I've shared bits and pieces of what I've read with the staff at my school, and plan to continue to do so for the rest of the year. I've ordered two more copies of the book to share with colleagues. Thank you for this inspiring book.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lynn D. on May 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
We are using this book as a book study group in our elementary school It serves as a great springboard for conversation about teaching strategies and learning. The book provides insights to new teachers as well as seasoned teachers and can serve as a way to share and reflect as a learning and teaching community.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C. gerken on December 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Choice Words is a powerful book in terms of thinking about how we can both engage and motivate our students through discourse and dialogue. Our students today are reading less and less and often and do not know how to articulate their thoughts and ideas (aside from what they "learned" in the latest movie they saw). Throughout the book Johnston lists statements and questions that help students learn how to articulate their thoughts, which will hopefully lead to future empowerment. The author does not discuss which theories and methodologies are most successful for teaching reading and writing; the focus is on helping children create meaning from what they read, learn to think and articulate their thoughts independently, and become successful participants in a democratic society.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sophia Ahmed on September 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book does a great job of making you really consider the words you use with your students as a teacher. Not only does it give great advice, but it also gives some great tips and examples of how to approach common situations and what to say. Also, the appendices are prety informative as well. Johnston does a great job!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Cindy M. Goodrich on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book really changed my thinking about how to speak to children to promote the best learning, and what to say. Our words are powerful tools in the 'teacher's took kit' and must be used with care.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gloria G. Brennan on February 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every teacher should read this book if you want to make a difference in a child's life. What we say, how we say it and when we say it should be thoughtful. This book gives great examples for reading teachers to apply to struggling readers to help them feel successful and confident in their reading progress.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By M. Flynn on July 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Tho' many of the things Peter Johnston says in the book, I already know, it was good to review and it got me to thinking about how I come across to my students and how I can BETTER get them to do their own thinking and inquiring by the language (questioning) I use with them. It is a concise book and one that I'm sure I'll be referring to many times in the future.
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Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children's Learning
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