Customer Reviews


30 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Dish, With One "Off" Ingredient
Sarah Tantillo's THE LITERACY COOKBOOK is a survey-style book that covers the gamut (or kitchen, if you're into extended metaphors) of teaching literacy: basic comprehension skills, reading, writing (including chapters on persuasive and research writing), speaking & listening, and test-taking skills. She shares the wisdom of many high-profile literacy experts like Chris...
Published on February 8, 2013 by Ken C.

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some spice here and there...
... but not truly a feast for the reader. The Literacy Cookbook: A Practice Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction is a short compendium of literacy strategies for the teacher looking for a quick tune-up of their teaching, or a new fresh spin on some lessons. In trying to cover such a broad range of subjects, naturally, some things are...
Published 24 months ago by James Hiller


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Dish, With One "Off" Ingredient, February 8, 2013
This review is from: The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sarah Tantillo's THE LITERACY COOKBOOK is a survey-style book that covers the gamut (or kitchen, if you're into extended metaphors) of teaching literacy: basic comprehension skills, reading, writing (including chapters on persuasive and research writing), speaking & listening, and test-taking skills. She shares the wisdom of many high-profile literacy experts like Chris Tovani, Kelly Gallagher, and Jeff Zwiers. Thus, whether you are a rookie teacher or a seasoned one, you'll glean something useful from your reading. From there, if you want greater depth, you can move on to read these teacher/authors' books yourself. Tantillo's angle is to give a flavor of their expertise and then add her own touches, often in the form of graphic organizers and strategies.

The strength of the book is its practicality. Teaching theory is like salt. A little bit flavors the stew, but too much makes your eyes bug out. It also makes you put down the spoon and push the bowl away. Tantillo seems aware of this. She may touch upon "big ideas" but she's all about the "street smarts" of execution in the classroom. Inveterate "borrowers," teachers will find a lot of useful stuff, then, for immediate implementation in their curriculums.

Here's the annoyance -- the bad ingredient. Not all sections are equally strong or informative. Often Tantillo gives you a "teaser" of sorts, mentioning a strategy and then saying that readers can find worksheets to implement it on a website. If you go to the website, you see that "hundreds of files" are available on a 30-day trial basis and that the site will be updated with new stuff for a subscription costing 50 bucks a year (group discounts available). The site also provides leads to Tantillo's workshops and consulting services. And even if you want the free trial, you must first pony up your name, e-mail address, and name and address of your school. I realize that many teachers will think nothing of this and are used to corporations (Jossey-Bass, here) collecting personal data, but feel it should be mentioned because, in some cases, it does impact what you see and don't see in the book you purchased. Otherwise I'd be fine with the website. Capitalism is a cornerstone of our country, after all.

Bottom line: Great advice -- none of which I can argue with -- but uneven inclusion of materials. Despite my personal dislike of the marketing angle, I still recommend the book overall. Most teachers will find some useful stuff in its pages and, like me, can just ignore the website.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some spice here and there..., February 28, 2013
By 
This review is from: The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
... but not truly a feast for the reader. The Literacy Cookbook: A Practice Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction is a short compendium of literacy strategies for the teacher looking for a quick tune-up of their teaching, or a new fresh spin on some lessons. In trying to cover such a broad range of subjects, naturally, some things are shortchanged, or as another reviewer stated, for sale on a website (which I think is an unfair marketing ploy).

Sarah Tantillo's book is well-written but not altogether terribly informative. If I were a new teacher, I may get a general sense of the direction my literacy lessons could go in, but I would need other resources to fill in the details. For my use, the activities presented are fun, engaging, and some new twists, but this may not become a seminal text in my professional life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Follow Recipes, April 17, 2013
This review is from: The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a teacher, I am always looking for ways to enhance students' reading levels and their overall literacy. Naturally, I was drawn to "The Literacy Cookbook" by Sarah Tantillo becasue it promised techniques to enhance literacy instruction, especially for struggling students. The author has fourteen years of experience as a classroom instructor and applies that knowledge to her own methods.

The book is divided into different food related categories, which is a little cutesy, but it works since all of these elements mix together to achieve more effective reading, writing, speaking, and listening instruction. There are Basic Ingredients, Entrees, and Desserts. In the Basic Ingredients section, Tantillo demonstrates how to teach a variety of comprehension skills (like paraphrasing and inference), reading strategies (for fluency), writing instruction, and how speaking and listening are twined together with comprehension. She offers practical applications along with sample worksheets/questions/posters that teachers can use. The Entrees focus on specific topics, like persuasive writing, DBQs, research papers, and teaching with novels. The Desserts section wraps up the book with references and sample rubrics/worksheets.

"The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction" is an easy to follow guidebook for crafting lessons that will increase the performance of literacy challeneged students. At times, the chapters can get redundant (See such and such for more detail) and it can also seem like the author is pushing for membership on her TLC website, since many resources can be found there. What this book did was help reaffirm some of the things that I do right as a teacher, but also gave me insight into how I can dive deeper into those things I already to gain greater results.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview, April 10, 2013
By 
Forrest Wildwood "Phil" (The house with the narrow gate) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Literacy Cookbook by Sarah Tantillo takes tested tools used in teaching children and lays them into a recipe like format. Starting with the basic ingredients (comprehension, reading, writing and speaking/listening) as the foundation of learning, she then adds onto these research paper and other persuasive writing concepts. At the end of the book are several recommended readings on these tools. Instilling children with a desire to read and read with understanding should be one of the prime goals of any and all teachers. I applaud anyone who can bring new tools and techniques to this table. The book is small, only a little over 200 pages, but it is packed with some good tools to help accomplish this goal. With the smallness, the book naturally tends to lend itself to being more of a vehicle to direct teachers/readers to her website for more information. Some of this website information is free or used on 30 day trial. That brings the question of do you buy the book or just signup on the website? The book is not without problems. There really wasn't much in the way of her successful personal experience examples. There was also a flow and repetitiveness that made the book a bit uneven in the ending chapters. I would still recommend reading the book if it's for nothing more than first four chapters. Glean those things that can help students and then if needed go on to the website for more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A lifesaver in the guise of a "cookbook", April 14, 2013
This review is from: The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Let it be said that I ordered the book based on its cover; as an ESL/EFL language specialist and diehard foodie and cookbook collector (my collection of cookbooks numbers over 200 and growing), I loved the concept of a literacy "cookbook" complete with "doggie bag" sidebars and chapters arranged by "basic ingredients," "entrees" (tasty persuasive writing, reading, writing and test prep "stew"), and "desserts." But far from a gimmick, "The Literacy Cookbook" has proven to be a lifesaver for a particular student I've been working with.

I have a master's degree in TESOL, but much of my coursework was theoretical (and my bachelor's was in French, Spanish and Japanese, so I don't have an education background to fall back on). Other than some PhD-level classes in reading and vocabulary acquisition theory, I was lost in reaching out to adult second language learners who struggled with reading in English (and for many of our Saudi students, this is a persistent problem).

Although it's aimed at K-12 students, "The Literacy Cookbook" is applicable just as easily to adult learners. I found Sarah's advice on teaching paraphrasing particularly helpful, as that is what my current student was struggling with. I loved her emphasis on building knowledge of word roots; that's something I do frequently in my own EFL/ESP classroom, but many of my students don't have much practice analyzing and breaking down words in English. And for second language learners, having them "draw" idioms is a great tool for visual learners to "lock in" the meaning.

In addition to mini-lessons, along the way there are multiple sample worksheets to help students with inferences, reading from context, transitions, checklists, organizers, citations and more illustrated with cute food-themed line drawings (although I admit the frequent sports analogies went over my head!). You'll find advice on teaching with novels, book talk projects, training students to listen and speak effectively, test prep tips and more that will empower your students to become strong readers and speakers. This is one book I wish I'd had when I started teaching, and all new teachers should have this in their arsenal!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good as far as it goes, but too much is on a secured website, March 15, 2013
This review is from: The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
THE LITERACY COOKBOOK tackles teaching the literacy skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening as if they were a recipe or menu. This approach makes reading this book interesting and just plain fun! As a college English instructor who also has a library science degree, I particularly liked the information about the research project and how to approach it. Granted, the advice (using source cards as a means of avoiding unintentional plagiarism) is nothing new to me, but Tantillo's style in this segment - and throughout the book - was fun and approachable, not the dull material teachers often see and hear in professional development.

Besides the general style - treating important concepts in an approachable, almost humorous, way - I liked the fact that Tantillo herself writes well. She states that "textbooks try to do too much at once" (70) and "are notorious for stringing along facts and occasionally indenting" (69); THE LITERACY COOKBOOK is, in essence a textbook for teachers, and Tantillo is certainly not guilty of the misdemeanors she points out here. She writes good, solid, readable paragraphs that stay on their point.

However, there is one big problem that prevents me from giving this otherwise excellent book higher than three stars, and it is a common habit of such books as these anymore. A great deal of the supplementary material is on a website with a limited non-subscription (read: free!) period for viewing and use. There is a required access code, which I cannot find anywhere in my copy of the book.

This placement of the materials on the website instead of the book was very disappointing. It may be the fault of Jossey-Bass and the way the publisher set up Tantillo's material, but this approach needs to change. Budgets, whether from one's school or one's own pocket, should not have to be dipped into to access such materials; the guides and rubrics said to be available on the website impress me as important enough to be incorporated into the book.

My overall verdict: The material that is in the book is excellent, but there is too much valuable material that isn't in the book and should be included. I would rather pay more for a book that has the material than have so much important material on a secure website.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful and A+ for format, June 4, 2013
By 
This review is from: The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a future teacher (especially one in California), The Literacy Cookbook was a valuable addition to my set of educational texts. The number of students who enter high school reading far below grade level is staggering and to my way of thinking heartbreaking. Some reviewers found the book to be on the 'light' side. Perhaps after some teaching experience I will have a different opinion but as a rookie I found this book very helpful.

What I liked:

-Very user friendly format. Information is presented in a logical way and is outlined clearly. I am such a fan of bolded main points in informational texts!
-The tips are easy to implement, make perfect sense, and really encourage kids to 'think outside box'. One such tip that comes to mind is having a student (or child, if reading for personal use) play detective with a story. This boosts reading comprehension by encouraging the child to ask questions of a text and then answer those questions. And it's a fun exercise that will appeal to students who love games.
-I love the 'recipes' format! The instructions are thorough but concise on the specific recipes and the overall layout of the book is a play on a full course meal. It's a wonderful analogy and it makes it fun.
-Very well done handouts are included in the book. Additional resources are available for download on the website.
-I also really liked the ELA Common Core tracking sheet. This is sure to be a valuable resource as more and more states move toward adopting Common Core.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read for a not fun topic, June 27, 2013
By 
This review is from: The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was hesitant to order this book because I thought it would be a dull read. I was wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I wasn't enthralled with the cookbook theme, but it does work. As a homeschooling mom I'm always looking for ways to improve how I teach and even what I teach. I want to make sure my kids "get it" and love it too. This book breaks down the "ingredients" that go into teaching literacy. It doesn't cover just reading and writing but also comprehension skills, speaking, listening, test-taking skills and writing persuasive or research papers.
What I LOVED about the book was that she credited the original authors in the text when she was using something she learned from them. When something inspired me, I knew exactly where to look for more information. I also loved hearing how she evolved as a teacher - learning what worked in different situations and how she made situations work for her.
What I hated, absolutely hated, about the book was when certain things (charts, diagrams, better instructions) she refers to are only available on the pay website. I understand she wants to live off the site, but really, I bought the book it should include everything she refers to. It sometimes feels like an info-mercial and if I call right now I can be one of the lucky million to get a free months trial on an overpriced website. Oops. Talking about this has made me take away one of the stars.
Overall though, a great read with great information.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Broad survey of teaching techniques, April 8, 2013
This review is from: The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you're looking for a broad survey of techniques for teaching English Language Arts, this is a good book. I think the thing to keep in mind with this book is that it really goes for breadth rather than depth. For me it was a good thing because it gave me a good lay of the land and then if I wanted to dive into any topic specifically I could do more research and reading on my own. Because of this, I think it is especially helpful for newer teachers who are just starting out. It also makes it a good book if you want to reference something quickly vs. reading the entire book cover to cover. I also appreciated the author's writing style. She writes in a very straightforward, approachable manner that almost feels conversational at times. This means that the book doesn't feel as dry as a textbook and is a pleasure to read through for personal enrichment. My only wish is that the supplemental material was included as a CD with the book instead of on the secure website. Looking through the content I get why she couldn't include it all in the book - it is very rich - but I do think having it on a CD would make it much easier to access. I've bought other books that treat supplemental material this way and find it much more user friendly. That aside though I do think this is a very useful resource for language arts teachers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, April 5, 2013
This review is from: The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This primer covers the basics and is ideal for novice teachers or literacy volunteers. The concept is cute. The book is based on a menu featuring basic ingredients- which really should be appetizers if you are truly mimicing a menu- (comprehension, reading, writing, speaking and listening); entrees (persuasion, test prep, research paper guide, teaching with novels and document based questions) and desserts which consists of recommended reading. The book is understandable and easy to implement. My biggest quibble is that you must access a website to download additional materials. The website is free for the first thirty days and available at a discounted rate after expiration of the free trial. I have no problem with plugging other products but I think a booik should be self contained. If you pay for the book the website resources referred to in the book should be free. Put the paid websites in the resource section. Don't make them essential.

Overall this is a concise manual. While probably of most interest to teaching professional, it is also of value to parents, literacy volunteers and those interested in improving their or someone else's reading skills.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction
$24.95 $18.93
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.