Review Blog

Jul 08 2020

7 steps to get your child reading by Louise Park

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Illus. by Nene May Pierce. Allen & Unwin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760524678. 256pp., pbk.
As the new school year approaches there is great excitement for new students as well as their parents as one of the biggest milestones in their lives approaches. And for the little ones, no matter what else is promised, it is the prospect of learning to read that is predominant. So much so, that for many there is great disappointment because they don't achieve that goal on the first day!
After almost 50 years of teaching our youngest readers to master that mysterious code of squiggles on the page, I know that it is imperative to have them able to begin their journey in both the classroom and the library from that very first day. But there is much that can be done at home in preparation for that more formal instruction and this book from author and education consultant Louise Park outlines a series of steps that parents can implement long before the classroom doors open.
While there are many books written by many people who have experience in the literacy field from all of its diverse angles, this one focuses on the children of the tech generation where there is so much competition from screens. It combines the traditional thinking while embracing technology so that the two are not mutually exclusive. The seven steps are:
Step 1: Talking their way to literacy
Step 2: Reading their way to literacy
Step 3: Linking writing and reading
Step 4: Taming the tech and making it count
Step 5: Harnessing the power of book ownership
Step 6: Embracing two reading philosophies
Step 7: Finding just-right books for any age
Difficulty learning to read, write and spell
Each is set out in an appealing format with language that parents will readily understand - it's not full of the eduspeak that so many teachers favour - yet treats them as intelligent human beings. It clearly explains what the brain is doing when we read and that there is no one-size-fits-all magic bullet simple because every child's experiences and circumstances are different.
That 50 years of working with little ones and their parents has also taught me that when it comes to reports and interviews, it is the child's literacy development that parents are most interested in because they know that that is the key that unlocks all the other doors. But I also know that reading begins long before a child comes to school, that success is a partnership between parent and professional and so providing books like this either informally or formally as part of a parent participation program can help them enormously. As the professionals we have the responsibility to do whatever it takes to ensure the children in our care explore and explode their potential so helping their parents help them is an essential foundation.
Barbara Braxton

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