- Andrea Nelson-Royes
- Transforming Early Learners
- Success in School and Career
- National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
- fundamentals of early childhood development
- National Reading Panel
- Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu
- professional development tools
- NCLB Act
- Nijaah Howard
- Young Men Strong (YSM)
- Desmond Amuh
- Homewood Flossmoor High School
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.