- 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 (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Straight Talk About Reading: How Parents Can Make a Difference During the Early Years Paperback – 1999
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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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The book was written in the 90's so the research cited is a little old but much of what she says is still relevant, especially about how you can (and should) be your child's biggest reading coach and loudest advocate.
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.
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'. Limited resources are available geared toward the public about reading research which makes this book extremely valuable to parents. It's 'reader friendly' way to become
acquainted with proven research based methods of reading instruction definitely creates 'aha' moments.
The authors have skillfully used clear and concise charts throughout the book to highlight main points. They have also included a fascinating historical timeline of Reading Instruction from the 1700's-1997 which is sure to amuse, confuse, and enlighten the reader. As parents of school age children we need to be reminded that `just because we learned one way' doesn't necessarily mean it was the best way. The authors also tell the reader to BEWARE - "All that goes by the name of `phonics' is not equally effective." and take CAUTION when you hear - "balanced reading program." The 'buzzwords'- sequential, systematic, explicit are carefully defined and seven instructional components of a good reading curriculum are described in detail.
Beyond creating more informed parents, four chapters have been written to empower the parent by providing detailed activities to do at home, benchmarks to gauge your child's progress, as well as recommended books for your child. I believe the authors have encouraged the kind of parent involvement that fosters a powerful partnership between school and home. This sense of collaboration and communication between home and school is further encouraged as the authors discuss assessments and various structured Multi-sensory Phonic Programs, developed for children with reading disabilities. Parents are urged to question "developmental lag" labels, seek early intervention and know "best practices".
As an educator and a parent of children who have struggled with learning to read, I was encouraged by the authors ease to communicate to parents. Their ability to clearly describe the intricate process of reading and artfully repeat the most crucial message, the use of systematic code instruction -phonics, is commendable. However, I was equally troubled by their lack of optimism in our schools to adopt "best practices" in reading instruction. I would encourage parents, teachers, and administrators to read this book with the mind set of understanding `how' to teach rather than `what' to teach. I urged a bit of caution as to the authors' recommendation on "Hooked on Phonics". Hall and Moats have done an admirable job of giving parents the tools and information they need to seek and participate in good reading instruction for their children.