TRANSFORMING EARLY LEARNERS INTO SUPERB READERS: PROMOTING LITERACY AT SCHOOL, AT HOME, AND WITHIN THE COMMUNITY, BY ANDREA M. NELSON-ROYES, EdD

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Book Review by Dennis Moore

Andrea Nelson-Royes, EdD, an educator, researcher, author, and parent who has a passionate interest in how children learn to read and how to keep them reading, has authored a book that demonstrates all that she has experienced and believes in; Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers: Promoting Literacy at School, at Home, and within the Community. It starts for her at home with her own children, endeavoring to give them the opportunity at the best possible education that they can get. Being a mother of four children gives her ample time and opportunity to test her passion for the education of other parent’s children.

Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers is a scholarly book and approach to education from someone who has made a lifetime of educating children and instilling in them the fundamentals of early childhood development. The author succinctly states and demonstrates in her book: “Children want to learn to read, can learn to read, yet reading underachievement plagues children across the nation. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reveals that more than one-third of fourth graders fail to attain basic levels of reading achievement. Essentially, reading is about deciphering shapes on a sheet or screen to reveal subtle meanings. Learning to read in early years is crucial to every child’s success.” These would be empty words if the author did not offer solutions, which she does throughout this well written and researched book.

Parallels exist between Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers and the author’s earlier written Success in School and Career: Common Core Standards in Language Arts K-5, in which she states: “Every Child in America deserves a world-class education.

The author writes of “Technology and Early Learners’ Motivation” by stating: “Technology has a profound effect on children’s motivation to learn to read. Technological hardware and software promote early learners’ engagement, motivation, and learning proficiencies. The National Reading Panel noted that although the cognitive aspects of reading, such as comprehension and decoding, are commonly recognized as vital components within the overall process of learning to read, motivation also is a critical factor in a child’s reading success. Graphics, animation, and sound effects are constant eye-openers or ear catchers for early learners.”   

This book by Nelson-Royes comes at a crucial time, with the raging debate of the public school tenure system across our country, particularly here in California. Just recently, Los Angeles County Superior Judge Rolf M. Treu decreed California’s tenure laws unconstitutional because they compromise students’ rights to a quality education by protecting incompetent teachers.

The author clearly defines in her book the roles of teachers and their interactions with students and a partnership with parents in transforming early learners into superb readers, by stating; “Educators must use some of the following activities to help struggling readers in their classroom:”

  • Familiarize themselves with the children and their parents and caregivers.
  • Encourage continued assistance at home.
  • Make use of specialists’ resources within the school.
  • Search for professional development tools that help children incorporate the five components – phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency, and reading comprehension – into their daily instruction.
  • Provide the parents and caregivers of children with school-based and outside resources for any available in-school tutoring programs or private tutoring.
  • Stay well versed in current information in the field of reading.

This sounds like an educator that is truly engaged! The author further states in this scholarly and well-written book: “Struggling readers benefit from effective collaborations connecting home and school. Educators must offer guidance to parents and caregivers to assist their children at home. Conversely, parents and caregivers must offer guidance to educators to help educators stimulate children at school.” With this type of interaction there would seem to be less of an issue of tenure and seniority.

The author sums up her brilliant analysis of promoting literacy at school, at home, and within the community, in chapter 5, titled ENCOURAGING CHILDREN TO LOVE WHAT THEY READ, by stating: “Teaching children to read continues to be a highly investigated area of education, and it is consistently a focus of our nation’s initiatives. The NCLB Act requires schools to take steps to make certain that all children are reading at grade level by end of the third grade. As a result, schools across our nation continually search for ways to achieve this standard.”  In a recent phone conversation with Nijaah Howard, Founder & CEO of Young Men Strong (YSM), LLC, she emphasized to me the need for her core constituency, young men of color, to be proficient in reading a book. Obviously, Dr. Nelson-Royes’ message has resonated with this parent and national leader. Desmond Amuh, a Homewood Flossmoor High School African-American teen from my hometown area of Chicago, has been accepted into 13 prestigious colleges, but ultimately accepted Yale. This is obviously the best example of parents and educators collaborating in transforming early learners into superb readers. See story on WLS – Chicago.

Perhaps the best testament of the author’s findings and the quality of this book, comes from someone who for 15 years was a secondary-level (grades six through twelve) English educator who also taught math, Byung-In Seo, PhD, associate professor, Chicago State University, and managing editor, Illinois Schools Journal. Dr. Byung-In Seo, who wrote the foreword to this excellent book states: “This book takes literacy theory and research and puts it in practical, usable pieces of information. It has the same readability as a newspaper and most trade magazines, so parents and caregivers will be able to understand and apply the information.” That says it all!

Dr. Benjamin S. Carson Sr., MD, professor and director of pediatric neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, states: “In Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers, Dr. Andrea M. Nelson-Royes has done a terrific job of showing our society how to take advantage of all the resources at our disposal in order to accomplish the vital task of creating widespread literacy competency. The material is presented in an easily understandable way that can readily be put into practice. I hope more books like this one are forthcoming.” I concur! This is a book that I highly recommend, and should be in the homes of parents, as well as in the hands of educators and in libraries across the country.

Dennis Moore is a writer and book reviewer with the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, as well as having been a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles and the San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper. He is also the author of a book about Chicago politics, “The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago.” Mr. Moore can be contacted at contractsagency@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.

Comments

Dr. Andrea M. Nelson-Royes, a new book on Education

Dr. Andrea M. Nelson-Royes, sent me her latest book on education just yesterday; "Families as Partners: The Essential Link in Children's Education", which I will have the honor and pleasure of writing a review.

"Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers"

A new study reveals that what unborn babies hear can shape their brains. Please read, “The unborn babies are hearing you, loud and clear,” by Meghan Holohan, NBC News at: http://www.today.com/parents/unborn-babies-are-hearing-you-loud-clear-8C11005474.

In the womb

I have often pondered the idea of reading to an unborn child in the womb. Though I have not found research to support my idea, I stand strongly behind it. What greater place to introduce the ABC's and the basic number scale. It's my understanding that the unborn child is already active, absorbing the various emotional states of the mother. I believe that the unborn is ready for imput of various knowledge. Done on a regular bases through out pregnancy. By the time the child enters their elementary education, the memory of such learning will surface with great results.

One of my biggest struggles

One of my biggest struggles growing up was reading, not because it was hard, but because i truly didn't understand it as a Child. I did not have the mother and father sitting me at the table or reading me books at night. I kind of learn and picked up along the way. My professors and teachers along the way really was a important figure in my life when it came to my education. I truly admire your passion for my generation's future in education. That seems to be the biggest struggle for us. I am a huge supporter of your book and your action toward your subject. Mr. Dennis Moore did a wonderful job on this review!I agree we need the best resources especially for African american children. We are failing in that area because in so many areas in the United States educational struggles are looked over. I learned while being in college to truly be successful reading comprehension is a must!God bless you and I ask nothing but favor and blessing over your life and book. I truly believe this is a must read! I am not sure if you have heard of my book "Said I Wouldn't Tell It but I Just Can't Keep It to Myself" but I am the author of that book. It is about my life and the struggles I have been through in my life and the message that I received through my storms from God. I must admit at first I was afraid to take that step to writing it but were i get my most joy from is ministering to other young women and men my age. I learned that All the Glory belongs to God and I am truly just His vessel passing through. I would love to purchase your book as well, I feel right now in my journey it will truly bless me. Mr. Dennis Moore also did a wonderful review on my book which was recently posted please take a look at it. I don't believe you will be disappointment by it. Please if you have time take a look at my website that I create tamekahicks460.wix.com/saidiwouldnttell. It will give you a sample read and just a little more information about who I am. May God bless you! this is link to my review http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/said-i-wouldnt-tell-itbut-i-just-cant-keep-it-myself I would love and be honored to connect with you! Author Tameka Hicks

"Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers"

It is rare that someone would admit their shortcomings and struggles at reading, especially at an early age and during those formative years, but Tameka Hicks had ample reason due to her being given up by her parents almost at birth. But that did not stop her from learning and achieving, as she went on to make the "Dean's List" at Xavier University in New Orleans. Just as I have been honored to write the reviews of Dr. Andrea M. Nelson's books; "Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers" and "Success in School and Career," I am just as honored to have written the review of Tameka Hicks' book; "Said I Wouldn't Tell It...But I Just Can't Keep It To Myself."

TRANSFORMING EARLY LEARNERS INTO SUPERB READERS:

Thank you for writing this book Andrea Nelson-Royes, EdD and thank you Mr. Dennis Moore for taking the time to review such a wonderful book on how critical it is for our children to engage in reading. It is understood that the art of reading has been severly reduced by our children because of the ever growing rise of technology. Unfortunately taking away imagination, dreams, visions, vocabulary, quality time with ‘self’, and the excitement of flipping the flap to come back to later. :) It is no surprise that our young boys of color, in particular our African American and Latino Boys are falling significantly behind in the absence of reading. It is imperative that we as educators, schools, community, and parents join collectively behind putting an end to this constant reality. This is something that can and will change, but it begins with all of us working together. This does NOT have to remain and YMS is working hard to keep ‘PRINT’ alive!!!! Young Men Strong, LLC, a mentoring & consulting company in New York City works exclusively with urban male youth who society projects as incapable of learning because of their circumstances. We work with these young men to dispel many of these negative images by teaching tangible methods of ‘how to’ read, write a resume, learn foreign language, and find inner peace. YMS published the first and only multi-cultural magazine Just for Men entitled ‘THOUGHTS’ (www.youngmenstrong.com) To reference Chap. 5 ‘ENCOURAGING CHILDREN TO LOVE WHAT THEY READ’. THOUGHTS’ is a quarterly magazine designed to appeal to the hearts of the Everyday Positive Male of Color who is striving for their voice to be heard and their images to be positively displayed. I encourage anyone who desires to nurture boys and men of color and peaking their love for reading to purchase their copy of the magazine as well support the movement of Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers. Nijaah Howard

WALTER DEAN MYERS, 1937 - 2014

Walter Dean Myers believed that the invisibility of people of color in literature discouraged kids from reading, which strikes at the heart of Dr. Royes' book and Nijaah Howard's mentoring & consulting company; "Young Men Strong, LLC." To the argument that there simply isn't a market for young adult books about black people, Myers replied in a public radio interview that publishers were "shunting off thousands and thousands of children" and contributing to "a graduation rate through this country which is obscene." One of Myers' most noted books was "Fallen Angels" (1988), an unflinching and controversial depiction of the Vietnam War.

Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers

Research indicates that increased engagement with texts and amplified motivation to read are not the only benefits of exposing children of color to multicultural literature. Research reveals that interactions with culturally relevant texts are linked to increased reading comprehension. Nevertheless, the combination of culturally relevant texts with instructional strategies that focuses on the building on prior knowledge supports the goal of promoting high achievement for all students.

Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers

In today’s classroom of various cultures, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and intellectual abilities, every child no matter of race or background can benefit from the information provided in my book:Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers: Promoting Literacy at School, at Home, and within the Community. The early years for all children are indeed the most important, as they are the formative years and vital for all children to build a solid reading foundation when they are most receptive.

"Reading Rainbow"

LeVar Burton's much publicized Kickstarter campaign to resurrect as a web series, his old PBS children's learning TV program, "Reading Rainbow," has hit a milestone. The original goal of the campaign was to raise $1 million in 35 days (by July 2), which it did in 35 days. But, as of last week, the campaign has raised some $6,408,916 million from 105,857 backers, and that includes a $1 million donation from "Family Guy" and "Ted" creator Seth McFarlane. Incidentally, LeVar Burton participated in the recent Los Angeles Times "Festival of Books" at USC, along with Terry McMillan (Waiting to Exhale).

Young Men Strong, LLC (YMS)

Nijaah Howard, Founder/CEO of Young Men Strong, LLC, says it all in this congratulatory comment about Dr. Royes' book; "Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers." It is clear that her mentoring & consulting company in New York City recognizes the success of young men of color through the pronouncements of Dr. Royes' book. There is definitely a correlation between that success and the guidelines outlined in this terrific book.

"Thanks"

This comment is to some extent related to what Dr. Byung-In Seo, associate professor, Chicago State University stated in her foreword for the book−it is easy to understand and provides salient information for all stakeholders in the education of young readers.

"Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers"

This comment is to some extent related to what Dr. Byung-In Seo, associate professor, Chicago State University stated in her foreword for the book−it is easy to understand and provides salient information for all stakeholders in the education of young readers.

Dennis Moore wrote an

Dennis Moore wrote an excellent review on a timely and important subject. Although I work with adult immigrants who speak English as a second language, I still emphasize to them the importance of reading to their children in both English and their native language, so their children acquire a love of reading at an early age. My own mother read to me every night.

"Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers"

Thank you for your book review and also for including the story of Desmond Amuh. Desmond is indeed a brilliant student. In the story his proud grandmother so vibrantly expressed that education has always been an important value in the family. She further stated that everyone pitches in at homework time and that her family demonstrates a village. I truly corroborate her statements. Together, all concerned individuals can play a key role in helping children learn in school.

"Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers"

Leahjean Frazier Dixon, who states that she has been "Totally committed to creating academic and economic opportunities for inner-city young women athletes" since 1995, specifically states in regard to Dr. Nelson-Royes' book Transforming Early Learners: "This should be required reading for Title 1 Coordinators in every struggling school district nationally!" Bravo Dr. Nelson-Royes!!! This is just one of many similar such comments made about this remarkable book on LinkedIN.