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Education Reporter

Book of the Month

I Can Do That! Positive Character Traits for Middle Schoolers I Can Do That! Positive Character Traits for Middle Schoolers, Pam Reed and Daniel Gray, 1998, Project Reality, 107 pps., $14.95

Free lance writer Pam Reed and Chicago public school teacher Daniel Gray have teamed up to develop a character education curriculum that introduces concepts and behaviors which have traditionally been considered virtues in our society. Many of these concepts have been lost, as "self-esteem" and "moral relativism" have taken over in America's classrooms.

The textbook contains original short stories and poems, with activity pages and charts accompanying each of the reading selections. Beautiful watercolor pictures illustrate each of the book's ten units. Students examine the positive character traits of responsibility, honesty, justice, respect, chastity, humility, patience, generosity, obedience, and perseverence. The text begins with an index of applied virtues, which the authors include to ensure that students and parents will extract and use every available lesson.

The readings are designed to help increase students' vocabularies, and the activity and discussion pages draw attention to lessons they can apply to their own lives.

I Can Do That! was created for use in middle school (6th through 8th grades) but some of the lessons are also appropriate for 5th graders. The curriculum can be incorporated into advisory, guidance, and/or English and reading classes, and the self-contained text can easily be adapted for home use.

In his endorsement of the curriculum, retired Navy Admiral and former Vietnam prisoner of war Jeremiah Denton writes: "This book will certainly take its place in the rebuilding of a foundation of character for America. The stories and poems are set in a modern landscape, while illustrating so beautifully how a virtuous life can once again be rewarding for our young people."

Pam Reed holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications from the University of Illinois/Chicago. Daniel Gray holds a master of science degree in curriculum and instruction from Chicago State University.

Project Reality, a leader in abstinence education since 1985, produced the curriculum. Write P.O. Box 97, Golf, IL 60029, phone (847) 729-3298, fax (412) 967-9694.

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