Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | July 7, 2009

Teacher Reading – “Less is More” by Kimberly Hill Campbell


Less is More : Teaching Literature with Short Texts – Grades 6 – 12
By Kimberly Hill Campbell
Stenhouse Publishers 2007

Kimberly Campbell is a teacher and an author who understands what works with students in grades 6 to 12. Her premise, in Less is More, is that teachers can reach students more effectively by using short stories, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s literature and picture books, and graphic novels. She proposes these shorter offerings in the place of the ubiquitous “novel study.”

Each section recounts her classroom experiences with explanations of what she did with students – even what she did that proved less than successful. Her approach makes for an easy read and had me saying to myself, “Yes, so true, so true.” She supports her ideas with an amazing number of suggested sources, sources that list not only the author and title selection but page numbers as well.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
(My only concern is with some of her suggestions. As one example, in the Essay section, Ms. Campbell recommends a number of entries from The Best American Essays of the Century. As I checked out several of the essays, I found them less than scintillating. She may have been able to bring them to life in her classroom, but I doubt that that would be universally true.)

I would highly recommend this book as an addition to any language arts teacher’s bookshelf.

Author’s note: When I was teaching, I found it difficult to find the time to read educational literature. When I could find a few spare minutes, I would read literature suitable for classroom use with students – novels, short stories, etc. Now that I am retired, I have pledged to “stay current” by reading books that propose to be helpful to teachers. The local Deputy Superintendent of Schools has offered his extensive supply of reading material in exchange for a book review of each title I choose. My first review is what you see above. But there’s a problem – I am still having trouble finding TIME.

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