Dive into a Good Book

Around here, we LOVE books and are always on the search for the next "Good Book". When we find them, we'll share them here!

 

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THE ETYMOLOGICON:
A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language

 

Do you know what the longest grammatically correct sentence using only one word in English is? Or that the bogey in golf is related to the Bogey Man?

Mark Forsyth shares all of this, and more in his equally entertaining and educational book The Etymologicon. And while some of that humor is a little crude and intended for adults, I do love to share some of what I learn with my students.

My love of etymology (history of words) and how words, concepts, and ideas all connect together is satiated as I relish each page in this book. I then delight in sharing (or torturing depending on your point of view) what I've learned with my students.

Once you understand the history behind a word, you can understand and appreciate the English language at a deeper level. Which in turn allows you to use the English language in a richer more proficient way in your own work.

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EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES


Before I start every session I always ask my students, "Anything new and exciting?" We then take a moment to share moments and events from our everyday lives. Lately, I've been sharing with them one of my new favorite books, Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynn Truss. When I tell them it's about punctuation, they tell me I've officially lost the plot.  While this may be true, I found this book to be delightful!

Lynne Truss KNOWS the importance of punctuation and calls for "Sticklers, unite!" in this quirky (but fabulous) book. Truss not only discusses when and how to use certain punctuation but also the history behind the mark. For instance, the comma originally was a small section of grouped words and not the curling mark we know it as today.

What I truly love is after she wrote this book Truss then made a children's series about punctuation based on Eats, Shoots & Leaves. You can see the first book in the series, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference! here. In the meantime, maybe, just maybe, I can bring a student or two around to appreciating the importance of punctuation.

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THE ALPHABET WAR: A Story about Dyslexia 

Meet Adam. He's in the middle of a war - The Alphabet War. Words tumble around, b's look like d's, and forget spelling!

In this charming little book by Diane Burton Robb, we learn how Adam struggles to learn how to read and seemingly falls farther and farther behind his friends. With help from his mom and teachers, things slowly get better. Adam learns there are some things he's good at, really good at. By the end, Adam can even read a book all by himself.

This book is wonderful for students who have been recently diagnosed or are struggling with the diagnosis. They can see themselves in Adam and know they're not the only ones struggling to learn how to read.

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YOUR SPECIAL EDUCATION RIGHTS: What Your School District Isn't Telling You 

Reading Your Special Education Rights by Jennifer Laviano and Julie Swanson, for good or bad, was like walking right back into the school building for me. At least the stress hives didn't come back...

In easy-to-understand language, Laviano and Swanson bring you behind the scenes and explain the "why would they do that" questions parents inevitably ask during the IEP journey. They shine a light on the seemingly counterintuitive proposals and solutions the school is presenting to parents.

Some of the back stories they share will leave you shaking your head - "That really happens!?!" - but Laviano and Swansen follow everything up with solid background information and knowledge - they peel the curtain back and share the Special Education 'secrets'.

Laviano and Swansen also provide action steps, letter templates, and strategies parents can use to help them advocate for their child. This is a valuable book to have in your arsenal.

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OVERCOMING DYSLEXIA 

Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr. Sally and Dr. Jonathan Shaywitz has long been considered THE defining book on dyslexia. I think the first time I saw this book was on my sister's bookshelf. At that time I had no clue of the importance of it.

Dr. Sally Shaywitz is one of the world's preeminent experts on reading and dyslexia and is a co-director with her husband, Dr. Bennett Shaywitz, at the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. She KNOWS dyslexia!

In this book, Dr. Shaywitz provides parents with a plan for their dyslexic child that covers each year and grade. She provides guidelines for parents to help them choose the best school for their child and ways to work with teachers. It really is one of the MUST-HAVE books when learning about dyslexia.

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READING IN THE BRAIN: The New Science of How We Read

Have you ever wondered what it takes for the brain to learn how to read?

Scientist Stanislas Dehaene, takes a deep dive into the research in his book Reading in the Brain. There is even an entire chapter on "The Dyslexic Brain."

In the book, Dehaene describes the processes and changes in the brain that happen when someone learns to read. Our brains are amazingly adaptable!

I am entirely fascinated with how the brain works, this book captivates me and makes my brain hurt at the same time. It is not a quick easy read. Each chapter is meaty and takes time to process and digest. Set some time aside, pace yourself, and you'll be amazed by what you learn from this book.

 

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A WALK IN THE WORDS

Is your child struggling with being different because of their dyslexia? Or are you trying to find a good way to start the conversation to tell your child they have dyslexia?

This sweet little book is based on the author's, Hudson Talbott, own childhood experience. He knew he was different from his peers (and he still carries some of the scars from those days). But he found, through his artwork and the artwork of others, a way to move forward and learn how to read his own way, at his own pace.

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BRILLIANTLY DYSLEXIC

Liz Trudeau wrote this book for and with her dyslexic daughter Quinn.

Brilliantly Dyslexic seeks to inspire others with 22 real-life stories of dyslexics from athletes and scientists to entrepreneurs and movie directors.

While the majority of the dyslexics highlighted in this book are from England or the USA, diversity is found throughout; showcasing different genders, ethnicities, and careers. The book is also illustrated by 17 artists from around the world - how cool is that?!?

What I love most about this book is that it proves dyslexia may be an obstacle but it is not the reason for saying no to your dreams.

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BRILLIANT BEA

This sweet little book shows the power of how a young girl thrives when given the support of her teacher and classmates.

Brilliant Bea is an amazing storyteller. She also happens to have dyslexia. Bea's life is changed for the better when her understanding teacher gives her an old tape recorder to use to record her fabulous stories. 

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WILMA JEAN THE WORRY MACHINE

Dyslexia and anxiety go together like peanut butter and jelly; one often goes with the other. Many dyslexic students are stressed out and anxious about school, especially at the beginning of a new school year. Welcome in Wilma Jean.

Wilma Jean the Worry Machine addresses anxiety in a way students of all ages can understand. What I love most is how Wilma's mom and teacher help her manage her anxiety; providing real-world strategies that can be used in your own situation. Fun, humorous, and helpful!

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THE ABC's AND ALL THEIR TRICKS

This is the book I pull off the shelf when a student asks me a spelling question that stumps me or I need a refresher. For example, did you know not only is there a silent e in spelling but also a silent u?

A silent u is used in words like 'guide' and 'guess' to keep the hard sound of g. Without the <u> the <e> would change the sound of the <g> to it's soft sound /j/.

This book is filled with information like this and is an invaluable resource to personal library.

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OX, HOUSE, STICK
The History of Our Alphabet

I pull this book off my shelf ALL the time during sessions. Frequently, many elements of the English language are a complete mystery to my students. English looks like a hot chaotic mess to them! Once I can start showing them the 'why' behind certain elements, things start falling into place.

One of these elements is the alphabet. Why are i and j the only ones with dots? Why do u and v look so much alike? Why do they call it double u? When these questions start popping up, I pull my copy of Ox, House, Stick off the shelf and we start investigating. What I love most about Ox, House, Stick is its simple, concise way of sharing complex information. Once you dive in, you'll never look at the alphabet the same way again. 

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HANDWRITING BRAIN-BODY DISCONNECT

Dysgraphia, the often overlooked dys in the group. According to author Cheri L. Dotterer between 10-33% of the population has difficulty with handwriting. Why is this not talked about more often?

Handwriting Brain-Body Disconnect goes into depth on the different types of dysgraphia (it's not all motor skills). This is the most comprehensive book on dysgraphia I've come across so far and a must for truly understanding how the brain and body need to connect during the handwriting process.  

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DYSLEXIA ADVOCATE!

The original edition of this book was one of my all time favorite resources to share with parents who have recently had a child diagnosed with dyslexia. It is a WEALTH of knowledge. I myself, frequently refer back to it when I need to refresh my memory or am looking for a little clarity on a particular topic. If your child is dyslexic and you are navigating the public school systems, this book is a must have!

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LOOKING FOR HEROS

I absolutely love how this book came into being! Aidan Colvin was a dyslexia student in high school who was really struggling. He couldn't figure out how other famous dyslexics had pushed through and found their success. With the encouragement and help from his mom, he decided to write them a letter and ask just that - "How did you do it?" He didn't really expect any answers but then to his surprise these successful adult dyslexics began writing him back!

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ALL ABOUT IEPs


The IEP help you need! Peter Wright is THE special education needs lawyer for children in the U.S. As a child, not only was he diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD but he was also taught by the renowned Orton-Gillingham instructor, Diana Hanbury King. This man KNOWS the ins and outs of IEP's. "All About IEPs" is full of clear answers about IEP's and special education law that every parent needs.

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