Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Review - Whole Body Listening Larry at School

Our cheerful socially skilled friend, Larry, is back on the scene. This time he's tutoring new students Leah and Luka (fraternal twins, no less) on the importance of Whole Body Listening. Similar to the earlier book (reviewed here) where Larry helps his sister, Lucy, learn to listen with every body part, Larry walks Leah and Luka through the whole process, too. In this case the listening lessons occur in classroom and playground settings. For example, following a buzzing fly with your eyes instead of looking at the guest speaker at an assembly means you'll miss the best part of the show. Singing a song during story time distracts everyone from hearing the climax of the book. Responding to a friend's sad story with your own happy tale makes them think you don't care, and caring is essential to listening with your heart.

The second book is also told in a straightforward rhyme which is helpful to struggling readers. The pictures, narration, and speech and thought bubbles all help convey the message of the book. Two differences I noticed, and liked, arise from the use of two characters, one male and one female, who need to learn Whole Body Listening skills. It seems that sometimes we think of only boys (or less often only girls) as having a problem with listening. Boys tend to be more active and girls can be silly with giggling and such. The truth is that both boys and girls can struggle with listening skills. I liked seeing that played out. I also liked that at times one of the twins might be depicted as having successful expected behavior while the other was struggling. This emphasizes not only that they are separate individuals (something that again is sometimes hard for us to keep in mind in our concept of twins), but also that it is possible to succeed in one area of listening, while struggling in another area. Perhaps you've mastered listening with your ears, but your eyes tend to rove the room instead of focusing on the teacher.

Last but not least I have to assure you that even though the message is the same, the story remains fresh for my child at least. A friend gave us a copy of this book some time ago, but I had hidden it away in hopes of reviewing it before releasing it to the wilds of our book pile. When the child saw it this morning she sat down right away to read it. She compared the body parts diagram in the two books, and insisted on reading it again tonight with our bedtime repertoire. So if you haven't already had the chance to check out these books, I would encourage you to do so. I think they have both greatly encouraged good listening for my little social skills scholar.

P.S. Sorry I can't seem to post an image of the book at the moment. Blogger will upload, but not embed the image. I'll try again later if I can...


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