'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Review: 7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading

If you’re anything like me, you are constantly worrying that you’re not doing enough as a parent.

You worry you have dropped the ball on something you find out all the other parents are doing. You worry your kids are falling behind in something and you could have done more to prevent it.

Reading and writing are big worries — reading in particular. Reading to kids is essential and exposing them to books at a young age is key.

But when and how and why? It isn't always clear.

Luckily, Louise Park has come to the rescue with 7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading.

Louise is a teacher, children’s author and an educational consultant. She knows what’s what when it comes to books, kids and literacy. 

But this isn’t just any non-fiction book. This is a book that has been written with time-poor parents in mind.

From the information to the layout to the design and fun illustrations, this is a book you will pick up and say ‘yes! This is exactly what I was looking for.’

Let’s start with the information. Divided into seven key chapters (one for each of the steps), Park covers everything from birth and up. There’s information about what comes before books and reading to support literacy, how writing is linked to reading (so really this is a book about supporting kids to write as well!), how to deal with the constant distraction of electronics and TV, and the two main philosophies on how to teach your kids to read. 

Plus more. There’s so much more. 

Park has translated all the research into parent-friendly language, and there’s a fantastic mix of real life stories, fact sections, quotes, detailed explanations (with lots of subheadings) and diagrams. There are also chapter takeaways at the end of every chapter.

The brilliant mix of information leads into layout and design. Different sections are clearly marked, the headings are large and funky, and a good balance of white space helps the eye. Nelle May Pierce’s illustrations also add to the fun and readability. Scattered throughout, they bring pizzazz to the pages. They are joyful and really do add to the reading experience.

But there’s more. One of the things I love most about this book is the step-by-step instructions Park provides for helping kids to read. She doesn’t just advise you to do this or do that, she actually shows you how to do it. 

Using her own brilliant books as examples, Park steps you through how to sit down with your kid and guide their learning-to-read experience page by page. Park outlines words kids might struggle with and what to do if they do indeed struggle to read them. She provides questions to ask them to prompt thinking and help them move forward.

The whole book is filled with useful tips and tricks — lots of them simple things that you can implement immediately without cost or effort.

I also love that this is a book for anyone with kids (or even pre-kid) no matter their age. A child’s reading journey really does start from birth, so if you have young babies, this book is for you. But if your kids are older — about to start school, just started taking home readers or have been reading for a while — this book is still for you. 

There’s so much useful information between the covers for encouraging life long readers. And no matter where your kids are on their reading journey, Louise Park has you covered. Insightful, helpful and made for time-poor parents, this is an easy and fun read packed with all the information you need to support kids through their reading adventures.

Highly, highly, highly recommended.

Title: 7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading
Author: Louise Park
Illustrator: Nelle May Pierce
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, $24.99
Publication Date: February 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760524678
Type: Non-Fiction