Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Even Smart Kids Struggle with Reading #ilovebooks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   

Smart Kid, Can’t Read: Reading Expert Offers Sage Advice for Parents and Others Entrusted with Helping Children Who Struggle to Read

One third of U.S. school children have problems reading.  It’s easy to think of low literacy as someone else’s problem—until it’s your child about to be sentenced to a lifetime of difficulties.  Public school systems, unfortunately, are ill-equipped to help.  Getting your child reading assistance that results in meaningful improvement requires that you advocate for your child.  Fortunately, there’s help out there.
Dr. Lorna Kaufman’s important new book, Smart Kid, Can’t Read: Five Steps Any Parent Can Take to Get Help (Ash Point, paper, $14.95), offers step-by-step real-world advice for anyone trying to navigate the hurdles of getting a child the help he or she needs—a task that can be amazingly daunting.
“Most reading problems can be prevented,” explains Kaufman, a developmental psychologist, reading expert, and past president of the Massachusetts Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.  “We’re spending billions of dollars on a problem we know how to prevent.”  The problem is inertia on the part of the very people who are supposed to be solving this problem: school systems and the colleges of education training our teachers.  The good news: armed with the information Dr. Kaufman provides, children can get the help they need before it’s too late.

Smart Kid, Can’t Read offers parents—and grandparents—everything they could possibly need to help them become effective advocates for their children.

Kaufman, who has worked with parents and school systems for thirty years, draws upon a career’s worth of experience and smarts to create a guide full of step-by-step advice.   From red flags for reading problems to why schools don’t act soon enough—and how to get them to—is laid out cleanly and clearly in language accessible enough that anyone can follow.  “Over the years parents of children I’ve worked with have urged me to write this book,” says Kaufman, who speaks regularly on efforts for improving reading instruction in the nation’s schools. “I know the ins and outs of the reading remediation system very, very, well.   Let’s just say I’ve been in the trenches.”

Smart Kid, Can’t Read distills Dr. Kaufman’s considerable expertise into five critical steps for parents to take in order to get their kids the help they need:

Step 1: Trust your judgment and act as soon you suspect there’s a problem with your child’s reading.  Don’t wait. Catching and fixing reading problems early is the key.
Step 2: Find out precisely what your child needs. Make sure to get an independent expert diagnosis.
Step 3: Learn as much as you can about the reading the process. The more you know about The ABCs of reading, the more powerful an advocate you’ll be for your child.
Step 4: Know your legal rights. You’d be surprised how effective you can be when you know the special education laws that are on your side.
Step 5:  Advocate for your child. From networking with other parents to organizing a team, Smart Kid, Can’t Read shows you what you must do and when you must do it.
Dr. Kaufman’s book offers easy-to-administer tests that parents can give their children to help decide whether a reading evaluation is warranted.

“Most reading problems can be prevented with explicit, systematic, phonics-based instruction in the early grades, says Kaufman.  “The tragedy is what happens if the problems aren’t fixed in time.” 
Fixing them in time is what Smart Kid, Can’t Read is all about.  “Children whose parents advocate on their behalf receive more help and better quality help than children whose parents do not advocate on their behalf.” When you’re fighting for your child, it’s good to have a reading expert on your side.
About the author

Lorna Kaufman, PhD is a Boston-based developmental psychologist specializing in the psychological and educational evaluations of children, adolescents, and adults.   She has taught in the Graduate Language and Literacy Program at Simmons College and in the School of Education at Wheelock College.

Dr. Kaufman has worked in leading clinics including Boston Children’s Hospital, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, and the Learning Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In addition to her private practice, she writes and lectures regularly on reading and reading disorders.

Dr. Kaufman and her colleagues, Sandra Doran, EdD and Leigh Leveen, are cofounders of, which provides training and resources leading to successful reading experiences for all children.

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