Sketching Stories, Stretching Minds captures the power of young people's visual responses to literature. Working in a community of learners, Phyllis Whitin encouraged her students to respond to their readings through sketched interpretations. Like pieces of writing, the sketches became a vital part of the curriculum as vehicles for discussion and reflective tools for understanding. Her book shows how she implemented the strategy—how she discovered, came to understand, and refined it to fit the needs of her seventh-grade classroom.
From that perspective, the book is a model for high quality teacher research. "I have grown as a teacher by looking closely at classroom events and by inviting students to share their thinking with me," Whitin states in the preface. "I have found that teacher research does not mean 'doing' something 'to' kids. Instead, teacher research is looking closely, listening attentively, and learning collaboratively with my students."
Upper elementary, middle, and high school teachers looking for ways to expand literary interpretation and self-evaluation in the classroom will find this book invaluable.