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Straight Talk About Reading: How Parents Can Make a Difference During the Early Years

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0809228577
ISBN-10: 0809228572
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Hall, a concerned parent, and Moats, a Harvard-educated teacher, have written a well-intentioned resource for parents concerned about children who have difficulty reading. While they address the need to read aloud to children as infants, their book focuses primarily on the needs of preschool and elementary school children. The authors recommend early exposure to reading in order to aid children in their cognitive development and familiarize them with a wide range of vocabulary, the structure of printed words, and story development. A discussion of the phonics vs. whole-language approaches is provided. This work complements Lucy Caulkins's Raising Lifelong Learners: A Parent's Guide (LJ 10/1/97) and Bernice Cullinan's Read to Me: Raising Kids Who Love to Read (Scholastic, 1992), among others. Recommended for public library parent/teacher collections and academic libraries with an emphasis on elementary education.?Lisa Powell Williams, Moline Southeast Lib., IL
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Susan L. Hall is founder of the business consulting firm Susan L. Hall & Associates. Through her prior work in the executive education field, she was responsible for curriculum development and has taught over 100 seminars.

Louisa C. Moats, Ed.D., has spoken to thousands of educators through her involvement with Center for Reading Instruction in California and is a frequently quoted reading expert.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Contemporary Books (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809228572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809228577
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In today's world, reading is an essential component in a very competitive, highly technological society. More and more parents should be making efforts to advocate for quality reading programs in their schools. This book by Hall and Moats is a comprehensive guide for parents about current researched based practices in teaching reading. Susan Hall has traveled the road as a parent of a child who had difficulty learning to read. Louis Moats, Ed.D has extensive experience in the field of reading as an educator, researcher, consultant and writer.
The book has been divided into three parts: 1. Background Information - all the information you need to make informed judgments and decisions about your child's reading instruction, whole language vs. phonics. 2. What Parents Can Do To Help Their Child - numerous explicit activities and games to support you child's progress in reading. 3. When Reading is Difficult - discussion about disabilities vs. poor instruction; learning disabilities and dyslexia.
Like James Cunningham, these authors attempt to create an 'aha' moment with the reader by drawing analogies to other professions (e.g. physicians, lawyers, accountants) regarding consumer expectations for quality and know-how. "Best practices" in education as in other fields should not only be reasonable but mandatory. It is my belief that the Dept. of Ed. in MA is making attempts toward this through their recertification process. Though they can advocate and require accountability for performance, they cannot control how the individual school districts choose to implement these policies. "Children's needs shouldn't have to take a back seat to adult professional egos." All the more reason for parents to know, understand and advocate for `good instruction'.
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Comment 51 of 52 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Reid Lyon's introduction to this book provides a clear description of this helpful resource: "It is unusual that a book about reading written for parents can be informative, understandable, and true to the scientific basis for understanding reading. To my knowledge, this book is the first of its kind. The scientific research in reading has progressed to the level that dissemination of critical findings to a child's most important teacher-the parents-is not only possible but imperative.....Mrs. Hall, whose own child experienced reading difficulty in first grade, and Dr. Moats, a reading scientist and teacher educator, combine their wisdom and knowledge to produce a readable, informative, accurate, and above all, practical resource for parents."
Reading through Hall and Moats' book, I was impressed not only by its clear readability, but how adeptly the authors wrote about complex issues associated with reading instruction in such an interesting, attention-holding manner. This latest book on reading is not only helpful for parents, but would also be informative and hold the interest of any elementary education teacher or principal. Especially helpful and unique to this book is Hall's differentiation of the needs of the regular learner as contrasted with the needs of the student with learning disabilities.
The first part of Hall and Moat's book details the larger picture of America's Reading Crisis along with theory and research behind whole language and explicit phonics. Interspersed among these issues is the echoing theme of Hall and Moat's that "teaching a child to read is a shared responsibility between school and parents.
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Format: Paperback
Massachusetts fourth graders last year took a state-wide comprehensive assessment test (MCAS) and my first grader's school did particularly poorly in English Language Arts. Being a concerned parent, I wanted to arm myself with information about reading/literacy educational methods so I could help improve the teaching going on at the school. While my child already seems to be reading at a high level, I don't want to wait until fourth grade to get an objective assessment and I DO want to provide her an education which allows her to excel.
This is the perfect book for parents who want to help their children to read and help their school to do better in reading instruction. It decodes edu-babble and provides information that can make you an effective change agent for your school. I particularly liked the sections on:
* Background on the differences between whole language and phonics approaches. * A detailed account of the tribulations of reading instruction in California (for all my CA friends) * Ways to determine if your child's teacher is using effective teaching practices. * Benchmark lists to see whether your child is "on track". * A list of warning signs for reading difficulty. * Lists of recommended books scaled by reading difficulty.
I highly recommend this book!
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Format: Paperback
I am a teacher of children with mild to moderate specific learning disabilities who went through the teacher education program at Ashland University in Ohio. Like countless other teacher education programs, ours stressed only a "whole-language" model of instruction, to the exclusion of all others, especially those that stress explicit phonics instruction.
I bought this book at a symposium given by the International Dyslexia Association, and I am so thankful that I did. As a parent of elementary school-age children I needed to know the things in this book. Specifically...
*Why a book like this is necessary in the first place.
*What is this "great debate" that reading teachers, and educators keep talking about?
*How do children learn to read? Amazingly, this is not taught in many teacher education programs. Why? Because almost all of the research ever done on the issue, any research worth its weight in cotton candy points to the explicit teaching of phonics to be the way that most children learn to read. As the authors so beautifully, and succinctly point out "The English written code is a sound symbol code, not a word symbol code. That is the game."
Parents of school-age children especially need to carefully read this book. Although I myself am a teacher, I believe in a "parent as consumer" focus in education, and, given this, caveat emptor! Parents need to know what they are getting in return for their hard earned tax dollars.
Please email me if you would like to continue this discussion.
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