Here’s a list of books for parents and tutors that I’ve found useful over the years. It’s not necessary to read any of these books in order for you to teach your child to read. This list is purely for your own information.
The only trouble with reading them is that reading them can lead to information overload, which leads to ‘analysis paralysis’ – so nothing gets done. And your student still hasn’t learned to read.
Remember, it’s far more useful to ensure your child learns to read, than to over-research or worry. Being informed has its place, but it’s no substitute for action!
You don’t need to know anything more than you already do, in order to use my courses. This applies to you even if you are not a native English speaker.
The books for parents and tutors listed below are in alphabetical order. (You should be able to buy any of these books through your local book store or online.)
ENDANGERED MINDS – WHY CHILDREN DON’T THINK, AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT
by Jane Healy, Ph.D
In this book, you can find information about why children are becoming harder to teach. It deals with: attention problems, brain development, computers, education, how the brain learns, learning difficulties, lifestyle choices, speech problems, television and thinking ability. This is a particularly readable and informative book for parents, teachers and tutors.
Although this book was written in the 90’s, what it says is still relevant today because the problems Dr. Healy talks about are even worse than they were back then.
THE MIND AND THE BRAIN – NEUROPLASTICITY AND THE POWER OF MENTAL FORCE
by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. and Sharon Begley
This is a book for those interested in how the brain changes and adapts. It provides a lot of reassurance for people trying to teach someone (of any age) with a learning problem.
It contains material on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and how Dr. Schwartz helped his patients overcome this problem. He does this to show just how malleable the brain really is.
The book also covers the area of brain/mind, as well as the author’s Buddhist perspective on free will.
If you’re interested in this area, this is a fascinating, but pretty ‘heavy duty’ book.
by Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D OTR and Doris A. Fuller
This book and the following books by Dr. Miller, provide information on what is going on when a child has a sensory processing disorder. Perhaps your child is seriously upset by: strong smells, loud noises, too much visual stimulation, too much human interaction and/or being touched (or even clothes rubbing on his or her body), or perhaps your child sleeps badly, or can’t remember instructions. If so, this book could explain exactly what is going on – and give you some easy to understand information on what to do to help.
A major plus with this book is that it is SO easy to read and understand, and it covers ‘overlapping’ conditions such as; Autism, ADHS, Developmental Delay and Special Needs, and it explains why each child is different and has different problems – even though each child might have the same disorder.
THE OUT-OF-SYNC CHILD & THE OUT-OF-SYNC CHILD HAS FUN
by Carol Kranowitz and Lucy Jane Miller
The first book, The Out-of-Sync Child, explains the signs of Sensory Processing Disorder, by telling readers about a number of case studies. This helps readers quickly see how their child compares and contrasts with these other children.
It helps you pin down exactly which issues your child has. It’s a comfort to know the problem isn’t ‘everything’. Then the book moves on to the diagnosis and treatment of this problem.
The second book, The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun, tells you what to DO in much greater detail. It contains a wealth of activities ANY child would benefit from. These days, very few children do all the physical activities we did as children – so i think this book would be a great help to any parent, homeschool parent or teacher wanting to incorporate useful and appropriate physical activities into a child’s day.
These activities are categorised into section, so you can choose a child’s weaker areas and strengthen those, as well as further developing the areas in which your child is gifted.
I really think it’s a good idea to get both of these books at the same time, if you think this topic is relevant to your child.
WHY JOHNNY CAN’T READ
by Rudolf Flesch
This is the book that got the ball rolling in 1966. That’s how long it is since the major reaction started against fautly reading instruction methods – nearly 60 years!
My copy is from the 1985 reprint. And although we’re further ahead with research now, we haven’t improved at all when it comes to reading instruction in schools.
This book explains what had gone wrong with the teaching of reading all those years ago, and, since things haven’t changed, it explains what’s still wrong now – so it’s still very relevant.
The last part of the book contains a simple learn-to-read course that a parent or tutor can use to teach the reading of single words using a straightforward basic phonics course. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover all the sound/letter combinations, so while it’s very useful for background information, it’s not a course I could recommend for teaching someone to read.
WHY OUR CHILDREN CAN’T READ – AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT
by Diane McGuinness Ph.D.
If you’ve read many of my articles, you will have noticed that many of them are based on information in this book. At times, the book gets fairly ‘heavy duty’, but if you want to read just one book on the problem – this is it.
Dr. McGuinness goes right back to the beginning, when writing began, and explains how civilisations developed reading. She explains why English is written with an alphabet, and why we must teach students how to read by starting with the sounds the students already speak.
There are examples in the book of faulty strategies students will use to try to read, if they’re not taught correctly and required to follow the correct method. Many parents and tutors will have students they ‘recognise in this book.
The importance of phonemic awareness is also covered in this book, as is the importance of teaching English in ‘layers’, so the students learn the Basic Code, before they progress to the more difficult work.
While the book doesn’t contain a course, it does recommend a few courses, and gives teachers enough information so that they could formulate their own course.
WORDS AND RULES
by Steven Pinker
This book is particularly ‘heavy duty’ compared to the other books, but it’s still written in a very readable style. If you’re interested in linguistics, grammar and spelling rules, and the history of English – then you’d enjoy this book.
Pinker has written a number of books in the linguistic line, and if you get started on his books you may well want to read more of them.
I hope you find this list of books for parents and tutors useful.