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Eli, The Boy Who Hated To Write: Understanding Dysgraphia Paperback – December 1, 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Review

Did you ever have a job where there was one solitary task that you abhorred or dreaded? Perhaps it was a monthly accounting report or an annual inventory project. You constantly dreaded the day that your superior entered your office to announce that it was time to approach this distasteful and fear-filled activity. You were anxious, frightened and disheartened. This is the way that Eli Richards and every child who struggles with dysgraphia felt each time he heard a teacher say the dreaded words, Everyone take out a piece of paper...I want you to write a composition...
Eli is a bright student with an extensive repertoire of interests and talents. He has a rich and vibrant vocabulary and an impressive fund of background information and facts. He is wonderfully creative and has earned the respect and affection of all who know him because of his innovative view of life. But he couldn t write. Every aspect of the writing process handwriting, note taking, spelling, syntax, semantics, word choice, etc. was a mystery for him. His fluency and fluidity with language came to a frightening and screeching halt whenever he sat in front of a blank piece of paper with a pen in hand. As he progressed through the grades, composition skills became increasingly important...and increasingly frustrating and frightening.
But Eli's story is not merely a tale of failure and struggle. It is also a story of support, faith and small victories. Eli's school life had detractors and demons...but he also had defenders and champions.
As I read of Eli's struggles, I was reminded that as in the fairy tales one caring, devoted adult can save the life of a child. Dysgraphia is among the least understood aspects of learning disorders. This complex problem has a confusing collection of symptoms and manifestations. These children wrestle daily with a Gordian knot of attention problems, memory difficulties, language deficiencies and idiosyncratic thought processes. Often, the professionals in the child s life will deal with the individual symptoms of Dysgraphia, but they fail to understand (or remediate) the disorder in its entirety. They assist with the symptoms without confronting the problem in any way. As a result, their interventions are often unsuccessful and the child s frustrations become more profound. Eli The Boy Who Couldn't Write puts a human face on this puzzling disorder. In a charming and insightful narrative, Eli tells of his daily frustrations and his creative attempts to avoid and later, self-remediate his writing problems. You feel as if you are sitting next to Eli in the classroom as he faces his daily challenges. Eli's story of fear, frustration and failure enables the reader to gain a genuine understanding or the problems that Eli confronted daily. But the book is not only about struggles...it also offers solutions. At the conclusion of Eli's narrative...the calvary arrives offering practical advice for how we can assist the dysgraphic child in the classroom and at home.
Eli's mother Regina, has come to be recognized as one of the nation s foremost experts on this puzzling disorder. She provides a detailed but understandable list of dysgraphia's symptoms and etiology. As you read her outline, you will come to recognize the dysgraphic students in your own classroom. Beyond merely identifying the disorder, Regina offers field-tested strategies and approaches to use with the child. By combining her unparalleled experiences as a teacher, consultant and researcher with her experiences as Eli's Mom,she is able to approach this task with the mind of a professional...and the heart of a parent. An unbeatable combination. As you read Eli's story, allow his compelling words to solidify your commitment to the children in your life who fight the writing dragon daily. --Richard D. Lavoie

Some of these experiences are heartbreaking. They show the pain a child is in. Hopefully, these occurrences will open the eyes of many teachers and parents who have not had the opportunity to explore this issue. Eli's interests tell us about his personality and his wonderful creativity. I have a great picture of who Eli is: I get a great sense of his tenderness, and, in walking through a day with him, I feel his joys and his pain. --Marsha Sanborn --This text refers to the Perfect Paperback edition.

From the Author

Eli and I wrote Eli, the boy who hated to write to share easy-to-use strategies to help students who experience the frustrating problem of dysgraphia. The strategies suggested are designed to be fun, practical, and easy to implement and are appropriate for regular education or special education teachers as well as parents. The prime focus of the book is to also share the very real frustrations that these students experience, to show other students that they are not alone, to explain the issue to parents and teachers, and to present suggestions for strategies.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: RET Center Press (December 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966135334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966135336
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,549,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the book, Eli: The Boy Who Hated to Write, and gained some important insights into the lives of those who struggle with learning difficulties. As I began to read this book I realized that it is a must-read for anyone working with children, whether it be in the role of teacher or parent. Once I had finished it, I recognized that this is a story everyone can enjoy and benefit from reading. On the surface, the book tells a story that is written for children who learn differently, especially the dysgraphic child, but there is so much more to gain from it. The plot follows the trials, tribulations and triumphs of one such student, Eli, who experienced problems in school due to his difficulties with writing and spelling. Although he had many creative ideas, his dysgraphia interfered and his written stories were abbreviated versions of the wonderful stories he had in his head. To add to his problems, his teachers and fellow classmates didn't understand his learning differences and felt that he just didn't try hard enough-he was a messy writer or was stupid. With the help of his parents, Eli tried to explain his frustrations to his teachers and thus was able to help design a plan that gave him some options for times when he felt frustrated in school. Eli still felt that some fellow students didn't understand him and made fun of his difficulties. Through an adventure in finding his way out of a cave, Eli used his special gifts and at the same time saved the class bully from his fear of being lost. Eli, his mother, and a special imaginary friend, a gnome, helped teach his friends that we all learn differently and have special gifts or talents. This is a clever way of teaching positive self-talk. This book shares so much with the reader at so many levels.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Regina Richards' astute understanding of dysgraphia is displayed in the milestones she and her son share from his school years. As I read it, I mentally noted similarities with my dysgraphic son. After my son read it, he proudly pointed out the same things: directional memory and love of animals and fish. Knowing another has successfully gone through school with dysgraphia has encouraged our family.
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Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
As the mother of a 15 year old dysgraphic son, I bought this book with high hopes based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews. Dysgraphia is very difficult to explain to others (especially teachers) and the book acknowledges this fact. The back cover also says that it "tells stories of a young boy struggling daily with written expression, and follows his school career from Kindergarten through College." It got off to a positive start with an introduction from Rick Lavoie. I expected to kind of skim through the first chapters (Kindergarten, elementary school) because my son is a Freshman in HS, but I was completely surprised to find out that the story is pretty much only about elementary school. There is nothing about middle school or high school and then all of a sudden Eli is in his 3rd year of college - and that is the Epilogue which just talks about Eli having to write an allegory for English class. Done. Huh? When did the school career get followed from K though College? I am starving for a book that can actually provide insight and experiences on the middle and high school level, but this has zero. Then I thought, well, at least in the Commentary there should be some good general information on dysgraphia that I can share with the teachers. No - not really. This would have done for a quick look through at the library, but it was a waste of the $30 bucks I paid for it.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
"Eli: The Boy Who Hated to Write" is an important book for any concerned parent dealing with a child who is having difficulty reading or writing. The book has two sections, one by Eli and one by his mother, Regina. The part by Eli Richards is a delightful and poignant account of how a young child tries to cope with school when it is frustrating to him. The part by Regina Richards, who is an educational therapist, offers strategies to parents and teachers to use when assisting a child with learning problems.

Eli's stories of his struggles with learning to read and write are realistic and touching. The reader can immediately identify with a scared little boy who doesn't know how to handle his problems. His coping mechanisms are at once innocent and clever. It is obvious that his problems with schoolwork are not related to intelligence. The epilogue takes him into college and "author information" shows that he is now a successful professional.

Regina's section of the book offers helpful suggestions that will encourage and inspire every parent who has had a child with a learning disability like dyslexia or dysgraphia. As parents, we often feel inadequate in making suggestions to our child's teacher since they are the educational expert. However, the strategies offered in this book will empower parents to not only help their child at home, but also to fight for their child's best interests at school.

This book is a good mix of child-oriented experiences along with helpful ideas for parents and teachers to deal with the child.
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