Warning: this post is part promotion, advertisement, and endorsement as well as a review. Sure, I talk about books all the time here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, but this one is special. You see, this is one of the books I edited—which in and of itself doesn’t make it special.
What sets this one apart is the content. The author, Carol Fitzpatrick not only has her masters in education, with a specialty in reading, but she’s been a classroom teacher and later a reading specialist, and a speaker on the subject. When it comes to teaching struggling readers how to read, she knows what works, and now she’s written a practical and instructional book designed to help those assigned that same task.
OK, I said what sets this book apart is content, then I proceeded to tell you about the author. But here’s the thing. Carol knows what she’s talking about.
I was in the classroom for thirty years. I saw struggling readers, and most of the time I didn’t know how to help them. You learn some things by trial and error, and I discovered in Carol’s book that some of the things I stumbled upon were the right kinds of things. But she also unveiled ways of working with struggling readers that I would love to have known. So Help, I Can’t Read is helpful.
It is also thorough. When Carol says “reading” she isn’t referring simply to improving a student’s word-attack skills. She means their work-attack skills, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and as corollaries, their spelling and their writing.
The book is not only helpful and thorough, it is practical. Carol has included a number of blackline masters which teachers may copy. She’s included games teachers can use to reinforce their instruction. She’s added in helpful forms and demonstrated her record keeping and assessment plan. She’s given a timetable so teachers know when to start, how often to test, and where they should be half way through the year.
The book is helpful, thorough, practical, and the approach allows for flexibility. Carol has designed the material to apply to all ages. Some teachers may want to adopt all of Carol’s ideas. Others may wish to pick and choose. Ideally an entire school would take the challenge to address the needs of struggling readers, but if that’s not the case, a single teacher can still make great strides by implementing Carol’s approach.
Helpful, thorough, practical, flexible. One more. This book is encouraging. Carol has included with each chapter success stories, lives she has seen changed because struggling readers broke from the mold and became simply readers.
Yeah, I’m enthusiastic about this one. I recommend it to any educator (and yes, homeschooling parents are educators) and I recommend any parent tell the educators at their child’s school about Help, I Can’t Read. This is a book that can help teachers accomplish what they deeply desire and can free bright students from the shame of feeling like failures.
Help, I Can’t Read is a MUST for anyone involved with teaching struggling readers.