Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: Changing Kids' Lives One Quote at a Time by Steve Reifman

Changing Kids' Lives One Quote at a Time by Steve Reifman
Paperback or eBook

My Review:
I was contacted by the author to review this book and another book by him that is a fiction book and you will see that review at the beginning of March.  Changing Kids' Lives One Quote at a Time is a quick, easy read, but it's a very powerful read.  I read it as a parent, not a teacher, but Steve has notes for parents and for teachers at the beginning of the book and I can obviously see how useful the book is for parents since I am one.  But I can also see where the book can be of great use in the classroom, in fact I plan on mentioning it at the charter school my kids go to because this is the kind of thing they really latch on to.  It's good stuff, powerful stuff.

As I read through the quotes, I found ones that I thought would really apply to my kids at the moment and ones I would use in the future.  And that is the beauty of the book, it's meant to be used over time.  A quote or two a week.  I plan on putting one on the refridgerator and a copy on the boys' bathroom mirror.  My youngest just started reading this year so it will be fun for him to read them I'm sure.  I'll probably stick a copy in the van as well because it seems we have all our important discussions in there because no one can go anywhere and we have 10 minutes between home and school that we can talk.  The nice thing is Steve offers some great ideas for getting the conversation going.  For teachers he also offers some journaling ideas at the beginning and further ideas for talking through the quotes.  For parents it's a little easier because it's more one-on-one.

I think the book is very well put together.  I enjoyed reading through the quotes, which are from  philosophers, writers, songs, proverbs, books and other sources.  The author uses such a variety of sources that you marvel at how he put them all together.  It also makes the book fun to have the band Live and Chumbawumba quoted next to Sophocles and Shakespeare.  Of course I have Tubthumping stuck in my head now too.  But that's not a bad thing.

I wanted to share one thing from the book and that was my favorite quote:
“One who makes no mistakes never makes anything.” -Anonymous 

Steve uses this quote to talk about Courage and I want to use this one with both of my boys.  One of  my boys is pretty fearless but I think that has to do with his age, the other kind of wants to stay with the status quo and not go out on that limb.  His Dad and I want to push him more and have him go out on that limb and this is a great quote to share with him and his brother as he grows older.  See I already have learned from this wonderful book.

I think Changing Kids' Lives One Quote at a Time is a wonderful book for parents, grandparents, teachers, and anyone working with kids.  Using the quotes in this book for discussion is a great way to help build up our next generation and get them ready to lead our country into the future.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About the Book:
Created for parents and teachers by a National Board Certified elementary school teacher, Changing Kids’ Lives One Quote at a Time contains 121 inspirational sayings designed to bring out the best in children and develop lasting habits.  For educators, discussing these quotes also helps establish an enthusiastic, productive, team-oriented classroom culture.

Specifically, the quotes target 13 “Habits of Character,” a list that includes Cooperation, Courage, Fairness, Honesty, Kindness, Patience, Perseverance, Positive Attitude, Pride, Respect, Responsibility, Self-discipline, and Service.  In addition, the sayings touch on other important ideas, such as quality, success, and health & wellness.  From beginning to end, the quotes spiral through these topics to empower children with multiple opportunities to think about and discuss each one. Accompanying each quote is a set of “talking points” Steve provides as a reference that parents and teachers can use to draw full meaning from each saying.

In Changing Kids’ Lives One Quote at a Time Steve describes a simple, effective way for parents and teachers to conduct meaningful discussions with children. Though the conversations take only a few minutes, the exercise is a valuable one because it encourages kids to think deeply, because there is a high tone to the dialogue that appeals to the best in people, and because it allows your family or classroom to start the day on a positive note.  Further payoffs to consistent use of this activity include better student behavior, stronger work habits and social skills, improved attitudes towards school, greater enthusiasm for and increased dedication to learning, more connections made between school and students’ present and future lives, and enhanced vocabulary development.

Finally, Steve provides a series of prompts for teachers who are interested in using the quotes for journal writing purposes. Furthermore, Steve shows how talking and writing about these quotes addresses a variety of important language arts standards.

About the Author (from 
I am a National Board Certified elementary school teacher, writer, and speaker in Santa Monica, CA. I am the author of several resource books for educators, including Eight Essentials for Empowered Teaching and Learning, K-8. I am also the creator of the Chase Manning Mystery Series for kids 8-12. Each book in the series features a single-day, real-time thriller that occurs on an elementary school campus.


FTC Information: I received this book from the author for an honest review.  


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