A Story About Jake
A new book to help kids with dyslexia
Reviewed in Brisbane Kids
Parents of children with dyslexia will know how difficult it can be for their child to keep up with their schoolwork. After working extra hard at school all day to try and make sense of language, children with dyslexia often feel frustrated and exhausted by the time they get home, which can lead to melt downs, especially when asked to complete homework.
Dyslexia means ‘difficulty with words’, and is defined as a learning difficulty that affects a child’s ability to develop a strong understanding of language. Children with dyslexia struggle to read, write and spell. They may also have difficulties with oral communication, organisational skills, following instructions, and telling the time.
Robbie Spence, a clinical counsellor and registered teacher, understands that navigating dyslexia and learning difficulties at home can be challenging for parents. Based on his years of experience, he has developed a short story book and resources for parents and counsellors, to help support self-esteem and motivation in kids with dyslexia.
Titled A Story About Jake, Robbie describes the story as, “a simple picture book for families that shows an example of how to respond to a child who is struggling to learn – to minimise emotional chaos and maintain self-esteem.”
A Story About Jake is currently available as a PDF download, and includes a number of extra resources, including colouring pages, a journal page, talk cards, confidence cards and a three page parent guide. As well as being a helpful tool for parents, Robbie says the book and associated resources can also be used by counsellors, psychologists, school chaplains, guidance counsellors and other professionals.
As the book and associated resources point out, children with dyslexia can have many strengths and talents – they may be highly imaginative, very creative, be a good problem solver or have an inquiring mind. They may excel in areas such as art, design, music, drama, sport, science or technology.
However, it’s not uncommon for children with dyslexia to have feelings of low self-esteem. That’s why Robbie developed the talk cards and confidence cards, which are aimed at building positive perceptions of self, and encouraging positive self-talk.
Dyslexia can affect up to 20 percent of children, and is not representative of intelligence but rather of the way in which someone learns and processes information. Despite this, it can be very troubling for a child to persistently feel like they are not achieving well academically. Sometimes this will come out in emotional and angry outbursts, which can appear like bad behaviour.
A Story About Jake reminds parents of the importance of acknowledging feelings and emotions in a child – not just jumping in and offering solutions or reprimands. Robbie says that a silent presence, indicating support, can be better than a river of words. “Sometimes, you just need to wait for a calm conversation window,” he says.
The book and associated resources are jam-packed with wise words and practical approaches to managing the stress associated with dyslexia. To purchase a copy of Story about Jake to download onto your device or print, please visit the website.