Dynamic Reading and Writing  - Expert Techniques by Sylvia Hannah Sinclaire

Below you will find reviews of my latest book, Why Your Child Can't Read or Spell and What YOU Can Do About It.


Book Review, Your Child Can't Read and Spell and What YOU Can Do About It
February 4, 2007

This exciting, practical guide for implementing a structured reading program begins by describing the nature of, and processes for, the acquisition of phonological awareness skills required for successful reading. The author describes, in detail, how to teach the basic components and effective elements in reading instruction. Emphasizing direct, explicit instruction, the book includes not only sample scripted lessons, but also interactive and engaging game-like activities. Accompanied by easy to interpret visuals, the book readily makes the connection between reading and language development. Designed for the inclusive classroom, the material allows for versatility in adapting the lessons from one-to-one and small group to whole class instruction with students with and without reading difficulties. The author's expertise, drawn from her over 30 years of teaching experience working with struggling readers, is readily apparent. I highly recommend this user-friendly book for all teachers (and parents) wishing to promote and facilitate reading success in their students.

Sally Brenton-Haden, PhD.,
Special Education Undergraduate Program Coordinator,
Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education,
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Book Review, Why Your Child Can't Read and Spell and What YOU Can Do About It November 2008

Over the past number of decades there have been converging interests, efforts, and advances in the study of reading. For the most part, these interests have attempted to unify decoding and reading comprehension under the aegis of varying macro or micro theoretical perspectives. Similarly, reading has been variously defined over the years and has been inextricably related to the theoretical perspective chosen. However, for our purpose, reading encompasses both decoding and reading comprehension, utilizing the terminology of the Dual Coding Theory.

The importance placed on reading has pointed to a critical need for students, both "regular" and "at-risk", to develop skills and attitudes of effective and efficient readers and writers early in their educational career.

Recognizing both the need and the opportunity to make a contribution to the pedagogical reading profession, Sylvia Hannah had casually agreed to implement a phonological awareness program at our School. The enormity of this task was soon apparent when the focus expanded from Kindergarten to grade 2, and to the daunting prospect of beginning with 3 year old, at-risk students, and continuing with them to grade 2.

The theoretical underpinnings of this work are based on a general framework of cognition, the work of Phyllis, Pat, and Charles Lindamood, and Nanci Bell of the Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes clinic, Alan Paivio and Mark Sadoski, authors of "Imagery and Text", the dual coding theory which emphasizes the two great symbolic systems of cognition: language and mental imagery. These theoretical perspectives were sprinkled with the very fertile minds and imagination of Sylvia and the staff at our School.

It was expected that all participants would bring together an authoritative set of contributions to help our children. These expectations were not dashed. Our children's decoding and comprehension performance soared in grades 1 and 2, and our 3 year old students were able to understand and independently produce sound/letter correspondences. Additionally, the majority of our kindergarten students decoded and comprehended, at the end of their kindergarten year, at a level varying from mid to the end of grade one. Our identified students, at-risk in K, performed at the beginning of grade one.

Sylvia's book, based on over 30 years of experience as a teacher of reading, working with children with reading problems, and as a reading specialist, presents an unprecedented number of strategies rendering the book extremely helpful and practical.

The book is written clearly and understandably. Technical terminology is kept to a minimum. When technical terminology usage is necessary, the author provides succinct definitions and explanations, while avoiding ambiguities by providing illustrations and examples.

Most importantly, the breadth and scope of this book is useful not only for those doing remedial teaching in special situations but also to classroom teachers dealing with individual's idiosyncratic differences in instructional needs. Since many professionals, paraprofessionals and parents have become interested in the reading process and remediation tactics and strategies, this book explains the nature and developmental aspects of reading, as a necessary foundation for understanding "normal" reading progress and remedial teaching.

The challenge of helping students become readers is one that holds promise for both students and teachers. A school climate that fosters and values reading is one where teacher's ideas are respected and where professional growth flourishes.

Sylvia's book, and her work with us at our School, are helping to turn the challenge and promise into reality.

Dr. Gabe Mancini, Elementary School Principal

SylviaDynamic Reading and Writing  - Expert Techniques by Sylvia Hannah Sinclaire

For many individuals, words are a mystery. They are random sequences of letters that are hard to memorize. English seems to have no system. At least, not a system that they can figure out.


  • have difficulty keeping up with their peers at school
  • learn spelling words for weekly tests, then forget them
  • don't understand why words are hard
  • put so much energy into trying to get words correct, that they have less energy to understand what they're reading
  • use simple words when they write
  • avoid reading out loud
  • avoid jobs where reading and writing are required
  • know they're smart, but can't seem to show their intelligence easily, through fluent reading and writing
  • make errors when reading and spelling, and don't correct them (because they don't know how)
  • can't choose what they'd like to eat on a menu
  • feel anxious about reading and writing tasks

Why Is This?