Wednesday, October 24, 2012

School Struggles - Book Review


If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know that my oldest daughter has struggled significantly at school for the past couple of years. One of the biggest difficulties we’ve faced is figuring out how to help her.  That is once we got past the whole, “you just need to focus and try harder” mistake that most parents and even some teachers make.   

So when I was asked to read and review “School Struggles – A Guide to Your Shut-Down Learner’s Success” by Richard Selznick, PhD, I very quickly said yes.  After all this is a subject very close to my heart and any help is welcome. Dr. Selznick is a psychologist, nationally certified school psychologist, graduate school professor and assistant professor of pediatrics.  As the director of the Cooper Learning Center, he oversees a program that assesses and treats a broad range of learning and school-based behavioral and learning problems in children. 

 I was struck right away by how easy the book was to read and it is evident from almost page one how much Dr. Selznick desires to help children that are struggling.  His insight is bang on.  When he describes the “smooth road and rough road kids”, I could see how my daughter fit into the profile of a rough road kid.  Every paragraph lit up bells in my head of how it fit our situation.  I probably have a dozen or so pages dog eared to either share with my husband or to go back to. 

It’s been a hard road for us all as a family this past year and I felt somewhat exonerated when I read that “Parenting isn’t the root of all childhood problems”.  Thank you, very much! Obviously parenting has a major affect on your children but given that if only one out of three of your children is challenging, not all blame can be laid at the parent’s door.  

Of course, that exonerated feeling quickly evaporated as I had to admit to the “Yelling is overdone and overrated as a parenting tool.” Guilty there.  Although we are trying to correct this in ourselves, especially as we have come to the realization it has nothing to do with not trying hard enough. 

So what do you do if your child is a rough road learner? Well, after each chapter Dr. Selznick gives a short summary called “Takeaway Point” wherein he sets out the main point and makes some suggestions.  There are also many “Try This” paragraphs that follow the Takeaway Point with extra tips for helping your child practice reading, getting organized etc.

There is just too much in this book to cover in one blog post. Just a few of the things that I am taking away from this book are some practical tips on helping my child keep on track organizationally, being supportive and helping navigate those tricky social waters and some important parenting tools on how to temper my own reactions and to be more clear. I will also be using some of the learning to read tips for my younger two children as they each approach stage one and two on the reading road. 

So if you have a child that is struggling in school, I would highly recommend reading this book.  You will find many helpful tools therein.  It’s not rocket science but sometimes all we need is someone to point us in the right direction and give our thoughts a new direction. 

Zeemaid

Available online and wherever books are sold. For more information visit www.drselz.com

*disclosure – I received a copy of this book in order to conduct the review.  I was in no other way compensated for this post and as always the opinions expressed herein are my own.*

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