SPD and reading: Why you should read I Spy A Great Reader by Jackie French


I Spy A Great Reader: How to unlock the literacy secret and get your child hooked on books by Jackie French.

This book is well worth a read. WeeBeastie was stuck in the land of Mr Men and while they have their place I wanted to find out how to get him sniffing around a chapter book. I spent my childhood in a wonderful world of imagination fuelled by books.

Jackie French talks about the connection between reading and writing. If you are encouraging children to write stories start with the most exciting bits then fill in the rest. So this probably means start with the end!  They may not want to write anymore…but one day they will. Resist the temptation to rewrite..it needs to be their story.

She suggests you encourage writing and story telling by leaving piles of paper and pencils around so children can write or draw a story when the moment takes them.

They can’t read if there aren’t any books. Leave different types of books where they can find them.

I had to promise WeeBeastie that even though he was learning to read I would always read to him whenever he wanted me to! In the early days we would often read turn-about. He would read a page or a chapter, depending on the book and then I would read next.

I’ve really noticed that his spelling has improved as he has been bitten by the bug!

I also had to close my mouth when I felt like saying “Not another Captain Underpants or Mr Men!” WB loves the crazy humour. He would move on when he was ready. Until then reading is reading!

I pick random books from bookshops, charity shops and garage sales and leave them on his bookshelf and by his bed. Who knows what will tempt him and when.

What was really interesting to me was that Jackie French includes help for reluctant readers and readers who are challenged by issues such as SPD. In particular I picked up information on how WB as a fast processor (in the 97th percentile) actually needs a certain amount of words on the page for him to be able to read it without distraction. Jackie says this is a form of dyslexia that she has.

Affected people are usually bright but frustrated as words or diagrams on the pages can blur when they are stared at. This can cause them to swap words in sentences which means they loose the flow and the story.

However they can be good at analysis, make far flung connections knowone else has thought of.

Jackie says that’s when we learn best…. when connections are there to be made rather than just list of information to repeat.

She says they often try to do everything, rushing from one project to the next, talking to two people at once, ending up rather messy!.

She also talks about how kinetic and active learners are challenged by their need to move in what is traditionally a still and quiet activity.

Touch typing is something we are working on…writing is too slow to keep up with the flood of ideas!

Have a browse. The book is set out so you can pick the pages of info relating to reading problems, teaching problems and how to help!


Sending postcards and letters is a great way to encourage writing…and then reading the replies!

How do you feed the reading bug?

penThe Jenny Evolution

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