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The Word Gobblers: A Handbook for Parents Working With Children Struggling to Read

The book is available from bookstores, or Amazon, Barnes andNoble or Square One Publishers. The ISBN is: 9780757005022

Book for Parents

About the book

Can I Help My Child Learn?

Have you ever felt frustrated when trying to help your children understand their schoolwork? When homework has to be done and their children don’t know how to do it, many parents feel upset because they cannot help them. This often leads to tears, tantrums, anger and frustration and it becomes a self-defeating exercise and a totally negative experience for both children and parents.

A Parent Guide Written In Plain English

This book has been written especially for parents who want to help their children learn. It contains specific proven strategies that I have used to help children who have had problems understanding basic english and mathematical concepts.

I have also included helpful hints for the parents so that they can understand why their child may be having problems. It is important for parents to understand how their child is feeling and how they feel when they are trying their best, but still not being able to “get it”.

The book is written in an easy-to-read style without the use of educational jargon so that parents who may also have struggled at school can understand how to explain things to their children

Sample Pages



We all need to be able to make the correct sound for each letter of the alphabet, before we can start to read successfully. Once we know the individual sounds, we can then learn that particular combinations of letters make particular sounds. Being able to correctly sound out each letter is more important to learning to read than being able to name the letters correctly.


Point to the individual letters of the alphabet on an alphabet chart, and ask the child to make the sound of that letter. Identify those that they can “get right” and focus on those initially, and then work on those that they may be having difficulty with. This is a similar process described above for learning the names of the letters. You can reinforce this by finding particular letters in words in a children’s book:

  • asking them to make the sound of the letter you are pointing at and/or
  • you make a letter sound, and ask them to find that letter in any words on a selected page of print from a children’s book.


There seems to be a common perception that if a child can read, they should also be able to spell. This is not the case. Reading and spelling are totally different skills.

When we are reading, our brains are looking for letter patterns in the text, which then allows us to work out what the words are. Reading involves recognition.

When we are spelling, we are copying letter patterns from our brain, which then allows us to correctly spell the word. Spelling involves visual memory and listening skills.

Read Comments

Read Editorial Comments about the Book

Countless parents have experienced the frustration of feeling helpless when it comes to helping their child learn. I believe that many parents will relate to the fact that some children are labelled as “lazy” or a “daydreamer” and will find hope in the author’s assertion that in most cases, the child is trying, but through no fault of their own, encountering difficulties. I love the tips that you offer in each section – these reinforce to the parent that they need to reward their child’s efforts, even if they do not get every answer correct. The maths section would also be a great help to parents who sometimes struggle to understand new ways of teaching in this subject.

This book would be a great resource for all parents. It would give them to tools to be able to help their child and the information is easy to understand. Your experience as a teacher shines through in this guide and I believe parents would be very grateful for your advice.

Appraisal from an editor for

This is an excellent book that parents can use to help their kids acquire literacy and numeracy skills. It is written in a simple factual way so that parents can add value to classroom teaching and help their kids understand their schoolwork.

It is a great instructional book that provides specific examples and strategies that can be used and adapted to assist kids of all ages and even adults with literacy problems. This is an essential reference book for all parents, careers and grandparents.

Book Review from the editor of “Get Ahead Kids”

About the Author

Resources - Irlen Diagnostic Clinic Newcastle

Joan started her working life as an office clerk and after marrying and having two children, she returned to study. She gained her Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology and worked as a teacher of Infants and High School students for a number of years.

During that time, she developed a desire to help children who were struggling at school because she could relate to that. Her academic success at school was limited but after returning to study and gaining excellent academic results, she realised that it is never too late to learn and that everyone has the potential to achieve what they want in life if they want it badly enough.

She has carried that philosophy through to her present career where she helps children who are having difficulty learning to read because of a visual perceptual dysfunction called Irlen Syndrome. Her desire to help those children regain their self-esteem and self-confidence resulted in her book “Can I Help My Child Learn?”.

The parents of the children who are having difficulties are always keen to learn how they can help their child move forward in their learning. As a result of this, Joan wrote her book with them in mind. Many of those parents will do anything that they can to help their child, but they are not teachers, so lack the knowledge of how to go about helping them. Joan has included many strategies and hints to help the parents understand why their child may be having difficulties understanding particular concepts.

Her greatest satisfaction comes from seeing the smiles on the faces of those children that she has encouraged to understand that they CAN learn!