Author: Jeanne Gehret M.A.
Illustrator: Michael LaDuca
Age Level: 6-9 years
Publisher: Verbal Images Press
The Don’t Give Up Kid And Learning Disabilities is an excellent resource for the classroom, your home or for the offices of professionals working with young kids with Learning Disabilities.
Alex is a young boy with a learning disability. He is creative in finding ways to solve problems like how to grab a cookie from a height. Much as Alex wants to be an inventor he struggles because of his difficulties in learning to read. Sometimes the letters seem backwards, other times they slip off the page making it difficult for him to find his place as he reads from a book. Alex’s classmates laugh at his. Alex begins to dislike reading as it is such a frustrating activity for him.
Alex’s mother takes him to see the psychologist for an assessment. Alex learns that his difficulty in reading is not because he is stupid and that there is a way to learn to read.
The strength of the book is it’s easy to follow language and the experiences that are real to young children who struggle to read. While it explains the differences in learning ability in a matter of fact manner, the book also emphasizes how children must persevere at the new tasks to learn the skills. Children will be reassured to read that there are others who face the similar difficulties and that resource teachers or learning specialists will help them learn the difficult skills.
There is no doubt that this is a motivating book for the child with learning disabilities. I like to read it with all my kids because it gives the others an insight into why some kids struggle in class without putting anyone on the spot. I particularly like the reference to visiting the ‘psychologist’ and Alex’s mother’s message afterwards. It gives the parents a reassuring message that the purpose of testing is to find ways to help their child and not to label them arbitrarily.
At the end of the book, the author gives a list of books and websites as resources for parents and professionals along with discussion starters from the book. As a parent, the author directs us to help young children to understand their peers’ difficulties.