“Dyslexia” what does it mean? Does your child have dyslexia? Parents who are seeing “red flags” in their child’s development must be encouraged to get an evaluation for their child to get the much needed help their child requires. What do you do if your child has dyslexia? How can parents and teachers encourage a child with dyslexia to receive the help he needs? Margot Finke, an Aussie transplant now living in Oregon, has written an adorable picture book entitled Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D” that explains to parents and best of all to their child what dyslexia is all about.
The illustrator, Ellen Gurak, makes Horatio, the main character come alive. Wonderful, full page illustrations will help all children enjoy this story. Gurak’s colorful, cartoonish drawings of the young boy with dyslexia shows children his emotions as he goes from feeling sad and overwhelmed when he tries to read to a happy, proud youngster who can now,
He’s glad that he went to the dread Special Class,
And friends think it cool that he’s reading—at last!
“I just can’t imagine not reading each day.
I’ll write a book too—about villains that pay!”
As you can see, Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D” is FUN to read with its rhyming format. The author and illustrator often use humor to keep the young readers’ attention. This is a great book for reading circles in schools or as a bedtime story at home! One to be read often for its positive message and often for the enjoyment it provides.
The suggested age range for readers is 5-10. Unfortunately for a book for readers with reading difficulties, I find the text is not easy to read. First the letters are too small for beginner readers. Secondly on each page there are two rhyming couplets that are side by side instead of four lines one on top of the other.
What is Dyslexia?
Margot Finke gives this simple explanation of dyslexia on the last pages of her book entitled Ways to Help Your Child with Dyslexia Thrive, “Dyslexia is a problem with the brain’s ability to translate written images into meaningful language. It is the most common learning disability in children. Dyslexia usually occurs in children with normal vision and normal intelligence. Children with dyslexia usually have normal speech, but may have difficulty interpreting spoken language, reading, and spelling…”
Among the list of common symptoms of dyslexia that parents can notice in their preschool child, Margot mentions “Difficulty rhyming”. This raised a red flag because one of my granddaughters has reading problems and, unlike her siblings, she had great difficulty playing rhyming games and making rhyming poems.
The Canadian Dyslexia Association says on their web site it is estimated there are five million Canadians who have dyslexia. They add that dyslexia is thought to be genetic and hereditary and that dyslexia touches about 23% of the population. I am sure parents and children will be encouraged to learn that Bill Gates, Magic Johnson, Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe and Albert Einstein and many others lead successful lives in spite of having dyslexia.
How to Help a Child with Dyslexia?
Ms. Finke writes, “Children with Dyslexia need individualized tutoring. This involves a multisensory education program. Supporting your child emotionally also plays an important part in their ability to learn ways for their brain to adapt.” Margot Finke’s upbeat message to children with dyslexia will prove to them it is not their fault they have problems. It will show all the children that some students have different needs and sometimes they have to have extra time with a specialist to help them. This will go a long way to remove the stigma attached to kids going to special education classes. Like Horatio said,
“Special class is for nitwits,” he whined to his Mom.
“Every one of my friends will think that I’m dumb!”
But go there he did–despite glum pleading looks,
“Well, they can’t MAKE me enjoy reading books!”
Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D” can open the door to serious discussions with your child or students about different abilities and needs and different ways of learning. Also the proactive teacher can use it to discuss the cruel comments some bullies use to torment other students.
Thank you, Margot Finke for this adorable book! Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D” should be readily available in all our school libraries, classrooms, home shelves, and therapists’ offices.
Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant who writes midgrade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family. Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between writing. She has three grown children. Her first books, a 7x book rhyming series, “Wild and Wonderful,” offers fun facts about animals from the United States and Australia. These educational and fun, eBooks can be read on a computer, laptop, or various color e-Readers. They are great for classroom or home schooling moms.
Listen to Margot Finke read a few “teaser” pages from of Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D” in this video.
Follow on Twitter @Margot10
Margot’s blogs offer writing information, news of children’s books and articles, and a little fun. There are cool book trailers and a collage of book covers too.