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The Little Book of Dyslexia: Both Sides of the Classroom
     

The Little Book of Dyslexia: Both Sides of the Classroom

by Joe Beech, Ian Gilbert (Foreword by)
 

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THE LITTLE BOOK OF DYSLEXIA,written by a dyslexic student teacher, references both personal experience and current research findings to highlight issues faced by people of all ages with dyslexia.

It looks at a number of strategies that can be used both inside and outside the classroom as well as listing various resources all designed to create a learning

Overview

THE LITTLE BOOK OF DYSLEXIA,written by a dyslexic student teacher, references both personal experience and current research findings to highlight issues faced by people of all ages with dyslexia.

It looks at a number of strategies that can be used both inside and outside the classroom as well as listing various resources all designed to create a learning environment that helps – not hinders – the dyslexic learner. The book works through the various challenges faced at different ages, starting with the youngest, including some of the early indications of dyslexia and moves up through primary and secondary school and finally onto university and being a student teacher.

“This is a must-read for anyone who has met dyslexia – in their own approach to learning or in a child or children they know.”
Roger Pask, Education Leadership and Management Consultant, Facilitator and Coach

“This book will appeal to trainee teachers, newly qualified teachers and practitioners across all phases of education. It will also prove to be a practical guide for all parents on how to cope with a child who has dyslexia.”
Debbie Coslett, Chief Executive Officer, The Hayesbrook School Academy Trust

“Any parent of a child diagnosed with dyslexia would find this book excellent in that it is written by someone who really knows how that diagnosis impacts on a child’s life.”
Andrew Massey, Fox In The Box Consulting Ltd

“This is a gem of a book that will be useful for working with all pupils and students. It is packed with common sense strategies and insights that will make learning fun and productive.”
Carol Frankl, leading personality of the Special Educational Needs (SEN) industry, founder of The Southover Partnership

Joe Beech was diagnosed with both dyslexia and dyspraxia at age seven. He is currently coming to the end of studying a BA in Physical Education and Education before moving on to complete his PGCE.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Reviewed by Roger Pask, Education Leadership and Management Consultant, Facilitator and Coach.
This may be a ‘little book’ but it is about a big subject and has great heart and a penetrating mind. It is a very useful book that is as much about the whole issue of learning as it is about dyslexia.
Joe Beech combines his personal story, a succinct account of the theory and research associated with dyslexia and a significant degree of practical recommendations that cannot fail to be of immense use to everyone who has experience of dyslexia – as subject, parent or teacher.
The way Joe tells his own story endears him to his readers and commands human attention to this most human of challenges both to learning in our social and educational systems and to how we should regard a specific group of learners, numbering over two million people in this country alone. He charts his own experience from early childhood through to his experiences in higher education – a story of obstacles triumphed over, and how those obstacles could and should be significantly reduced by those who manage learning systems.
The first five chapters introduce the reader to the subject itself, explaining the potential genetic origins of dyslexia and the questions it raises about the way that we think about learning and some of the many obstacles there are to learning within our social and educational systems. The three chapters dealing with the period of early years through to secondary school help us to get inside the mind of a child experiencing dyslexia and the typical response of the system to such a child. The ‘system’ includes teachers and parents in particular for it is the personal response of the adults whom the child encounters who can profoundly influence whether learning for a child experiencing dyslexia becomes a pathway among many possible pathways, or a steep incline with ever-growing obstacles to be cleared in an increasingly isolating climate.
Joe charts the story with a light touch in which he offers us insights laced with humour and occasional irony as he helps us to understand how this particular challenge to learning can be effectively managed. His inference that we need to know our ACBs (deliberately a little ironic) – Assessment, Classroom practice and Behaviour – so that adults, particularly teachers and parents, can help move the learning of children with dyslexia forward and themselves develop a useful and practical level of understanding, has a powerful impact on the reader. He de-mystifies the subject, making it immediately accessible to anyone who wants to understand it and respond to it.
In spite of the plain and very accessible writing on the subject and its intensely practical nature, this is a book founded on through and rigorous research as the references and end-notes illustrate – offering a rich field for further reading.
From the earliest chapter he finds simple ways of explaining and illustrating what the printed environment might look like through dyslexic eyes even with a spell-checker on the computer to hand (or eye).
One might forgive anyone who has fought their way in life through a ‘disability’ for exuding a sense of resentment at how little help is often available from the system and the populace at large. There is no hint of resentment or bitterness in this book, indeed it is laced with bits of humour even a little fun=poking at self. He writes early on “My favourite mistake however was writing defecate rather than deficit! You have to be able to laugh at yourself, sometimes dyslexia is funny!’
The illustrations are particularly evocative and somehow create a feeling of empathy towards the person, young or more mature, working out how to manage this distinctive set of challenges.
One very serious point about this book is that it explores aspects of learning in general. What is written about dyslexia is about all aspects of what we have come to call ‘special needs’; and what we can learn from thinking about meeting special needs applies to the whole potenitally vexed question of how all of us learn. To read this book is to further deepen one’s understanding of learning. To understand dyslexia and how to manage it is to grasp more about the management of learning for all children and indeed all adults. That is perhaps the most remarkable thing about this ‘little’ yet very big book.
Or perhaps there is one other thing that is most remarkable. It is that it is an example of amor vincit omnia. Joe’s story is one of being loved and of loving – the key ingredients of how he has come thus far in his life managing challenges that are that bit steeper than those which we normally face. It is clear that this is due in no small part to the love he has experienced especially from his family. Equally he approaches the subject in a loving way – love for those like him who have engaged with this particular challenge, love of learning, love that he shows through the insights he shares in the book, and the love which has drawn him to a career in education himself – something he hints that many people find remarkable.
This is not remarkable in the way one might think. It is not because one might imagine someone with dyslexia ill-equipped to become a teacher but because of the great contribution that someone like Joe can make to the education system. This is what is evident by the time one gets to the end of the story.
This is a must-read not only for anyone who has met dyslexia – in their own approach to learning or in a child or childern they know – it is for anyone who has an interest in learning and how it is best facilitated, whoever the learner might be. If you are interested in learning and being a more effective learner on a personal level, read this book.

Reviewed by Sal McKeown freelance journalist and author of How to help your Dyslexic and Dyspraxic Child.
Joe Beech is going to be an outstanding teacher. He is currently at the University of Chichester studying to be a PE teacher in secondary school. He is also the author of The Little Book of Dyslexia by Joe Beech, edited by Ian Gilbert. This book is a very welcome addition to the library of books on dyslexia because it offers a personal account allied to a teacher's perspective. Even in these relatively enlightened days, not many people are both dyslexic and a teacher.
Joe Beech grew up in Kent where the 11 plus was still in operation so while his brother went off to grammar school, he went to a mixed high school. This had some key advantages. The school taught touch typing: 'one of the most valuable skills that I possess. I not only use it on an almost daily basis now but it enables me to produce presentable work which I can instantly change, rearrange and edit as much as needed.'
While so many books focus on endless spelling and phonics practice, The Little Book of Dyslexia is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the practical uses of technology to support the dyslexic learner. Beech talks about mind mapping, dictaphones, e-readers, smartphones and all the panoply of 'technology in your back pocket'.
Joe Beech's experiences have informed his approach to his new career. It is worth buying this book for the chapter on teaching alone. There is a wealth of practical tips: Do a lesson plan as a flow chart instead of in the conventional way so you can see exactly where you are and where you are going.
'The best resource available to you in any classroom is the pupils themselves,' says Joe Beech. 'If you can implement a system in which the pupils cover most of the organisation, half of the work is done for you!' He suggests building on the ideas used in the Apprentice and setting up a system where pupils take on roles as Project Manager, Resource Manager, Team Motivator, the Accountant who is responsible for rewards and the Coach/Mentor who also acts as assessor. Not only does this motivate young people but it also prepares them for the world of work too.
Joe Beech has produced a very enjoyable read which offers an insight into the best teaching too: 'The best lectures and lessons I have had are the ones that caught me off guard and involved a novel experience which remained in my mind.' I am sure his own lessons will be equally memorable.

Reviewed by Debbie Coslett, Chief Executive Officer, The Hayesbrook School Academy Trust.
The Little Book of Dyslexia is easily accessible, written in an almost informal and "chatty" way which makes the reader want to read on...with the mix of fact and anecdote timely and appropriate. The 'human' element of the book is its strongest selling point - the author knows what it is like to be dyslexic and how it impacts on everyday life and the use of humour (often at the author's expense!) is very apt, especially when describing situations/faux pas that can easily be made.
The book will appeal to trainee teachers, newly qualified teachers and practitioners across all phases of education. It will also prove to be a practical guide for all parents on how to cope with a child who has dyslexia...this book will provide them with just that, and also some reassurance that a 'diagnosis' of dyslexia is not life inhibiting.

Reviewed by Andrew Massey, Fox In The Box Consulting Ltd.
Any parent of a child diagnosed with dyslexia would find this book excellent in that it is written by someone who really knows how that impacts. I love the human touch in Joe’s style of writing. Would I buy this as a parent of a dyslexic person ? Absolutely !

Reviewed by Carol Frankl, Founder and Managing Director The Southover Partnership.
This little book is a delightful read. Written by a trainee PE teacher who was diagnosed at the age of 8 with dyslexia and dyspraxia it is a testament to his perseverance through a sometimes unforgiving education system bent on teaching literacy and numeracy in dyslexia unfriendly ways. Aimed primarily at teachers this book has a wealth of practical information to help both teachers and parents meet the needs of dyslexic children more effectively.
There is a good balance between the author's own experience, tools of the trade and literature research all adding up to well rounded package addressing the needs of dyslexic pupils and students in education. Explaining how dyslexia is experienced is helpful as it puts the reader in the shoes of dyslexic pupils focussing on issues such as self esteem, organisational skills and managing challenging behaviour and how these impact on learning.
The book goes on to describe the author’s own experiences in the different phases of education. He explains a range of effective approaches that can improve learning opportunities for pupils. Each chapter ends with useful teacher tips. About assessment, classroom practice and behaviour.
The book has suggestions about useful software to support dyslexic students and ideas for teachers to consider in their classroom practice. The section on exams is particularly useful. The author takes a balanced view about exams versus coursework and suggests a number of strategies to help dyslexic students through these challenging times. Topics such as managing time and money are covered as well as organisational skills. These are essential life skills for all young adults. The last section of the book is specifically aimed at teachers, packed with ideas about how to make classrooms dyslexia friendly.
This is a gem of a book that will be useful for working with all pupils and students. It is packed with common sense strategies and insights that will make learning fun and productive.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781781350102
Publisher:
Crown House Publishing
Publication date:
07/16/2013
Series:
The Little Book Series
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
1,356,700
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from The Little Book of Dyslexia

Foreword:

Asking someone with dyslexia to write a book might be seen as a cruel joke. Like inviting a vegetarian with a fear of clowns to go to McDonalds. But who better to write a book for teachers about a condition that affects so many young people than someone who has first-hand experience of school life with dyslexia?

If you are a teacher, then you will be teaching children with dyslexia, whether you ‘believe’ in the condition or not. (Yes, there are some out there who still see it as an affliction made up by bad spellers.) Whether you are able to spot them or not is a different matter. In fact, your ability to spot them is down to your knowledge of what dyslexia really entails. After reading this fascinating and enlightening book I guarantee there will be several children in your classes whom you will look at with fresh eyes.

So, before you start, lets get some things straight. Whilst the word ‘dyslexia’ means literally ‘difficulty with words’ – and is a word interestingly that has only been around since the 1960s – dyslexia is about much more than spelling. In fact, like Robin Williams in Happy Feet 2, difficulty spelling is just an annoying little tip on a very big iceberg. The child with dyslexia is likely to have a wider range of challenges than dealing with words and, in many cases, spelling is the least of their battles.

Take, for example, the idea of ‘executive functioning’. This is the process by which our brains work to ensure we are doing the right things in the right ways to achieve whatever it is that we are trying to achieve. It’s like the conductor in an orchestra, silently guiding the whole to ensure that that
whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Within the remit of executive functioning are instruments such as working memory, planning, attention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, our capacity for blocking out distractions not related to the task and our ability to switch quickly to plan
B when plan a isn’t working. Unfortunately, according to research reported in Dyslexia – an International Journal of Research and Practice,* ‘children with dyslexia demonstrate impairments in a variety of executive functions’. In other
words, the child with dyslexia is going through a whole series of battles and challenges simply to stay on task and get that task completed effectively and efficiently. All of which mean that maybe that child with the poor spelling doesn’t need extra literacy lessons but extra ‘how to organise your literacy,
numeracy, science or whatever it is’ lessons.

That’s a very different challenge from simply giving a child a bit of leeway when it comes to the weekly spelling test.

I have seen this first hand with my eldest daughter as she has struggled through school (or rather struggled through the part of school that makes literacy and numeracy the beall and the end-all of the whole shooting match. Grrrr …).She was diagnosed with dyslexia properly at age 11 which meant, at least, we could refer to her as a ‘one-armed juggler’. In other words, she was a clever girl working twice as hard as those around her to achieve at school. Well done you! This conceit helped enormously with her self-esteem. After all, almost her entire school career had been a battle for her self-esteem. Imagine going to work every day knowing that practically everything that will be asked of you will make you look stupid and any help you get, if you get any at all, will make you feel even more dumb (‘special’ lessons, the ‘baby’ table, staying behind in the exam hall with the ‘thick kids’ to finish the exam, she’s been through it all). But, like so many people with dyslexia, she is far from stupid.
(She’s currently doing the IB in the VIth form after a year of self study at home. Her learning has come on in leaps and bounds since we prevented teachers from teaching her badly.)

In fact, according to Ronald D. Davis in his book The Gift of Dyslexia:

‘The mental function that causes dyslexia is a gift in the truest sense of the word: a natural ability, a talent. It is something special that enhances the individual.’

The author identifies eight basic abilities shared by dyslexics:
1. They can use the brain’s ability to alter and create
perceptions (the primary ability)
2. They are highly aware of the environment
3. They are more curious than average
4. They think mainly in pictures instead of words
5. They are highly intuitive and perceptive
6. They think and perceive multidimensionally (using all the senses)
7. They can experience thought as reality
8. They have vivid imaginations

All of which, if it survives the twin attacks of parenting and school, means that the dyslexic adult so often displays ‘higher than normal intelligence and extraordinary creative abilities’.

That’s a bit different from that thick kid who still can’t spell
simple words don’t you think?

The author of the book you now have in your hands is a young man who, like my daughter, has been to a school like yours. It is the story of what went on at such schools combined with advice, strategies and tips about what should have
gone on. It’s about what dyslexia really is and how frustrating life with it is and how easy it would be for schools to make life better for children with it. And it’s written from the point of view of someone who has, as the subtitle suggests, seen life from both sides of the classroom. We hope you will use it to help one-armed jugglers everywhere.

Ian Gilbert
Hong Kong

Meet the Author


Joe Beech stumbled through the education system and was diagnosed with both dyslexia and dyspraxia at age seven. He is currently a full time student Teacher and who better to help teachers support students with dyslexia than someone who is a dyslexic student teacher?

Ian Gilbert is one of the UK's leading educational innovators, speakers and writers with twenty years experience working with young people and educationalists around the world. He is the founder of Independent Thinking Ltd, the editor of the Independent Thinking Press and the author of a number of titles including Why Do I Need a Teacher When I've Got Google?. His book The Little Book of Thunks won the first education book award from the Society of Authors for 'an outstanding example of traditionally published non-fiction that enhances teaching and learning'.
www.independentthinking.com

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