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




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 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.


Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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