Lots of Great Ideas for Using Strega Nona with Students

A couple weeks ago, we asked you to share why you’d like to win a copy of classic beginning reader title Strega Nona for your school. We got lots of wonderful responses that you should definitely check out. In the end, I chose Patricia Young of Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District, NY:

Mamma mia! As an Italian-American, Tomie DePaola’s books have resonated with me for years, and inspired my teaching units. My ELL students easily connect with his family stories and colorful characters. The tone and purpose of his stories shine through his sensitive approach to human frailty and have fostered deeply purposeful conversations in my class. I would be honored to share this particular book in honor of my mom who came yearly to read it to my classes in her brilliant Italian accent.

AudioFile Golden Voice narrator John McDonough is no Italian grandmother (though he is a former Captain Kangaroo!), but I hope his reading does this story the justice I’m sure your mother’s reading did, Patricia. I will be contacting you and sending out your copy of Strega Nona on CD and print book.

Because of all the great ideas, I also had to pick two other winners who will receive a grab-bag goodie from my desk.

Olivia Perez of Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District, Texas writes:

Wow!! I don’t have space or time enough to tell why I’d like to win. I’m an ELA/ESL instructional specialist for secondary schools in my district. I work closely with 2 middle schools and 4 high schools. Our teacher trainings focus on assisting ELL’s, reading/writing interrelatedness, and language arts as a whole. We are beginning a new turnaround in focusing on reading for next year. We encourage teachers to try audiobooks for struggling readers and to use picture books (just like Strega Nona) to teach out of. We have modeled this through the National Writing Project training. In the summer we are lucky enough to be able to work closely with groups of students in raising scores, helping them to graduate, and raising reading/writing. I’d love to be able to ‘gift’ this at a training to a lucky teacher or during a session with an even luckier student!

Lisa Jorgensen writes:

I would love to win this Tomie DePaula audio book for my school. I was able to attend a couple of Dr. Janet Allen’s workshops here in Memphis over a couple of summers. I was very excited to see where her research was taking education. Two years ago, when my elementary principal asked for what we most needed in each classroom, my answer was a “listening center”. Imagine my surprise when 6 weeks later, a cassette/cd. player with four headphones showed up in each classroom. Except, we don’t have any listening materials except for the textbook copies. We need to have this for our library so that the school will see how wonderful audio books will be!!!! We can invest!!!!

I’ll be contacting the winners soon. And again, thanks so much to all our commenters! Look for more contests throughout the summer.

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