The Able and Talented coordinator sent me a copy of this book (subtitled Guiding Gifted Readers from Preschool to High School), so I felt compelled to read it.
I am the mother of three identified A&T students. I was a bright student myself. So I have trouble taking the advice of this book. I fall into the category of bad librarians doing a disservice for these students: "Some say "It doesn't matter what they read, as long as they're reading." But if we apply this attitude to children who have the potential to become serious readers acquainted with books of substance and literary value, then we do our children a disservice."
Huh. Considering how utterly boring many of the books mentioned in this tome are, I would argue that guiding their reading in this way would do them a disservice. Also, this volume is very light on newer books. Really, there have been other books written since Harriet the Spy.
The reason I react so viscerally to this issue is that I was given the luxury of choosing my own reading material, and it was all over the map. Yes, I read Caddie Woodlawn and The Phantom Tollbooth. But I also read Beanie Malone and a lot of dreadful schlock. Halstead is very big on reading as a way to cope with life. If that is the case, gifted readers SHOULD be reading what their peers are reading, especially the dreadful schlock. It gives them something to connect with.
My 8th grade daughter, who read every Animorph book she could find, is now on an Alcott binge. My 6th grader is reading The Lost Years of Merlin. My 4th grade reluctant reader finished Things Not Seen, and is complaining her way through some nonfiction because she is "supposed" to read it. They will all survive.