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Summary: Wordplay, word trains, and word sprints for dyslexia or ADD
Review: Words may fail my 9-year-old daughter, who was just diagnosed as dsylexic, but they don't fail Priscilla Vail. Her lilting, richly descriptive prose makes this book a quick read. It is obvious that Vail has developed a love for playing with words.
"Words Fail Me" is one of about 20 books that my school district recommends for parents of students with learning disabilities, and it was the first one that I chose to read. I bought it hoping to find out "what is dsylexia" and "what do I do about it". Instead the book takes an opposite tack: "how do we learn language" and "what goes wrong". Thus, my original objective was somewhat unfulfilled. In fact, I was left even more mystified by Vail's repeated use of the term "THE dyslexiaS" without explaining why she uses the plural tense. However, the value of the book stems from: (1) painting the picture of how critical language is to all aspects of life (e.g., helping our kids master language skills is incredibly important), (2) logical, sequential explanations of how kids learn and what gets in the way of learning, and (3) a prescription of 10 practical, specific things to do at the end of each chapter, many of which have to do with developing a love for wordplay.
Surprisingly, the book is probably just as valuable for parents of ADD kids, because it also highlights the importance of understanding the passage of time and developing a willingness to wait.
One recommendation, from a story in the book: When your child comes home from school today, ask "Did you ask any good questions in school today?"
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