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By Margaret Willey
Carolrhoda Lab ™
Interest Level: 7-12
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"Four secrets? Feels more like 400. This mystery twists like kudzu, creeping ever closer to truths that, as readers, we both need to know and are afraid of finding out. Katie, Nate, and Renata are three junior high school friends locked up in juvie after being found guilty of kidnapping the class bully, Chase. Their stories are told in nonsequential, piecemeal fashion via journals for their social worker, Greta Shield. It's a potential overload of information that Willey navigates with clarity and aplomb: Katie has two diaries, one for Mrs. Shield and a secret one filled with screenplay-style dialogue; Renata communicates only in skewed, nightmarish drawings; and Nate tells his story as if it were a Tolkienesque fantasy. This last gambit is risky but reveals the tale's mythic quality. In Nate's version he is 'Nathaniel of Greymount,' juvie is 'the Place of Contrition,' and Chase is 'the Master of Contortions.' Gradually Greta Shield emerges as the protagonist, obsessed with digging up the truth. If Chase wasn't really kidnapped, then why are all four kids sticking to their stories? Low on visceral detail but rich in unique voices, Willey's story masterfully teases out information until the final pages—and the ultimate revelations are well worth the torture." --starred, Booklist
Lerner Interactive Books introduce students to knowledge areas in core grade-level curriculum in an engaging format. With titles that span curriculum themes from pre-K - 5th grade, Lerner Interactive Books give readers a digital option for reading that allows them to read, hear, and interact in a way that will engage and motivate them to read more and more often. It's a fast path to deepening students' love of reading and learning.
From the opening page, audio and visual cues and easy-to-use tools help guide your students through the story. As the story begins, words are highlighted while they're read aloud. This type of word distinction better supports letter and word recognition skills, and keeps kids focused on the structure of how to read.
Students can turn the page using the forward arrow, clicking and dragging, or clicking the bottom corner of the book depending on their comfort level or keyboard skills.
A unique feature of the Lerner Interactive Book is single word playback. Readers can stop, click and re-listen to the pronunciation of any word on the page. If the book includes a glossary, readers can also click on the word for a full definition.
Because not all students read at the same pace, we've included dual audio speeds based on a words-per-minute pace recommended by reading and educational researchers for struggling and on-grade-level readers. Readers start at speed one, and can move to the faster speed as they gain confidence.
Each button on the player uses color, text and easy-to-recognize icons so even the earliest of readers feel comfortable using the controls. Each tool remains consistent through all our titles, so kids can focus on reading.
Teachers, parents and librarians can use the interactive whiteboard tools to highlight or circle specific portions of the book for one-on-one, small group, or whole class instruction.
We've included extra material and support to help extend the learning experience. Kids can play a game or activity that relates to the story they just read, or take a simple 5-question quiz to check for understanding.
Lerner Interactive Books are delivered via the Internet under a single-user license. Additional licensing options are available upon request.
The following technical specifications are required to implement Lerner Interactive Books in a school or public library: