Rocket Your Child Into Reading by Jackie French
Parents are so time-poor and I feel very naughty suggesting another ‘must-read’, but I love this parent resource too. It is extremely different from Reading Magic but is just as valuable.
I have only recently learned that a highly accomplished author, Jackie French, is dyslexic. In my eyes, as a parent and teacher, this adds sincerity to the information presented in Rocket Your Child into Reading. I appreciate resources that put my mind at ease, as opposed to those that send me into an anxious flurry and leave me feeling like a terrible parent who has been making all the wrong choices for my child. For me, this is one of those books.
I think the fact that Jackie has overcome her literacy difficulties to be so accomplished in her field puts your mind at ease as a parent when you read her tips and advice. She doesn’t pretend that by following her tips every child will have success. Her words remind us that our children don’t have to be geniuses to enjoy reading; that books can still be enjoyable even if we don’t find reading easy; that every child is different; and that it’s not our fault as parents if our children have learning difficulties; but most importantly that there are strategies for helping our children tackle and manage these difficulties.
My biggest credit goes to the layout of this book. It allows you to pick up the book and read it from any chapter or sub-heading that is relevant to you at any particular time, whether it be related to your child’s age, preferred learning style, or a pressing need you are experiencing with your child. Advice, tips, and fun games are also easily found under sub-headings. I also love the bullet points at the beginning of each chapter; summarisation can, at times, be my savour during busy times.
Learning to read and developing literacy skills don’t have to be drill-based. Rocket Your Child Into Reading is filled with practical, fun games and activities that help develop many areas of literacy including language, reading, writing, spelling, and concentration.
I believe parents will find the chapter on different learning styles quite interesting, especially if they have more than one child. Catering to a range of learning styles is what teachers do in classrooms, but I think it’s great for parents to be aware of these too. Jackie also includes the odd book suggestions for each learning style.
‘How to spot reading problems’ is the chapter that sets this book apart from other parent resource books that encourage a reading culture in the home. This chapter is extremely informative but I’d also like to add that it’s important not to take it as gospel. Jackie suggests some indicators to look out for, but just because your child exhibits one of them doesn’t necessarily mean they have a reading problem. As Jackie suggests in this chapter, if there is any concern it is vital to visit a professional, and she lists a whole range of professionals that many parents may not have known even existed. This chapter is designed to arm parents with relevant knowledge enabling them to recognise any reading problems so they can be addressed as soon as possible.
- Encouraging young children to read
- Encouraging older children to read
- How to teach children to read (including Jackie’s 12 steps to reading)
- How to spot reading problems
- All children learn differently
- Encouraging a reading culture
A great ‘go-to’ resource that you will be able to refer to for many years.
Author: Jackie French
Publisher: HarperCollins (Australia) Children’s, April 2006