Next book



Presents a convincing, clearly written argument for a research-based instructional technique, supported by evidence of...

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

An Australian educator shares a simple method to improve spelling.

This neatly constructed debut work targets educators and parents who want an easy way to teach children to spell. Divided into three logical sections, the book first describes the author’s five-step “S.P.E.L.L.” method of teaching spelling, then discusses the reasons why it works, and finally offers proof via case studies of its triumphs. In Section 1, Harley provides a succinct description of each of the five steps, supplemented with examples and black-and-white photographs that add clarity. This section is a self-contained how-to guide that presents the method in sufficient detail so it can be implemented immediately and without additional assistance. Section 2 is an excellent analysis of the visualization technique behind Harley’s creation, inspired largely by her research into Neurolinguistic Programming, also explained in this segment. Because “S.P.E.L.L.” is multisensory and involves seeing, speaking, hearing, and moving, Harley delves into areas that get a bit technical, such as the manner in which movement increases learning, the balance system controlled by the inner ear, and the regions of the brain. Also included in this part is a discussion of various research studies regarding other techniques for teaching spelling, many of which validate the author’s reliance on visual memory as an integral part of her approach. One of the more useful chapters in Section 2 compares current educational schemes with S.P.E.L.L.; this chapter should be especially interesting to educators who want to see the major differences in practices at a glance. In Section 3, Harley offers numerous and compelling case studies, each carefully documented, that demonstrate the effectiveness of her procedure with both classes and individual students. In one such study of 20 pupils over a period of six terms, a 79 percent success rate was achieved. At the end of the volume, Harley provides a sample chart that can be used to motivate students along with extensive references.

Presents a convincing, clearly written argument for a research-based instructional technique, supported by evidence of success; should be a welcome addition to any elementary school teacher’s arsenal. 

Pub Date: Dec. 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5144-4532-7

Page Count: 110

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

Next book


This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-80046-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Next book



American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

Close Quickview