An "A" My Way
by Courtney Burkett

"...the key to success with anything is all within your head."

Burkett's book is a delightful story about different learning styles. The author's intent is to reassure kids that there is more than one right way to an answer and even more than one right way in life. After finishing this charming tale, it is easy to see that she has accomplished her mission.

The story is about a monster who explains to a little girl how many ways there are to learn. One may read "ST-OP," he explains, seeing it in short blocks. Another early reader may read "S-T-O-P," sounding out each letter. Meanwhile, another student might see the whole word in what adults might know as sight-reading. The book monster is an important source of encouragement because students are always comparing themselves to their peers in school without understanding that all paths to reading fluency are perfectly acceptable. Likewise, the monster explains how his monster friends learned math, each a bit differently and successfully, too. "They grew up, have good jobs and are as wonderful as can be."

The illustrations are also monstrous, featuring freaky, colorful monster friends reading, writing, and learning differently. The words are in large print, and the text of each page rhymes, making the reading easier for new readers. For adults reading to children, the pages almost sing. It is obvious from this refreshing and inspiring story that the author is a teacher, sagely stating of children that "the key to success is they use their own great skills and always be willing to try." Burkett's book is written to build confidence in young students, and it certainly does. Her book is a must for every first- and second-grade classroom library.

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