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One out of every five U.S. residents functions at a "below basic" level of literacy, struggling with tasks such as rea... More

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Author: Mildred Joyce

Illustrator: Jacqueline Kirk

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Publisher: A Better Be Write Publisher,

Material: paperback

Summary: Cody wants to learn, she tries really hard. When her Mom tried to teach her, she could remember only the letters A, B, C and the numbers 1,2,3. Her brothers and sisters would tease her. At school, things weren't any better. Mrs. Wiseman gave up on her even faster than her Mom did. Even after a whole year of first grade, she couldn't remember all her letters and words or tie her shoes. Cody is dyslexic. This is a picture book for educating children about dyslexia.

Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 6 to 9

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: This could be such a hopeful story. Although I understand why it is set in 1949 (this is a semi-biographical story), this is not a setting today's kids would understand. There is no reason to even hint to children that they could be spanked in school for not learning. The story ends abruptly, with Cody repeating first grade. Even though she is the star, there is never any resolution for her. The author thought to include games, but no resource ideas for families.

Pros: Children trying to understand dyslexia will relate to Cody's feelings of frustration.

Cons: There are a number of disconnects in the story. It is 1949, so it is surprising to see children of different races as classmates. At the end of first grade, Cody knows "two letter words," yet the author includes "the" in the list. That would be minor, except that on previous pages, "the" is the word that has all the red Xs for being mispelled.

Borrow or Buy: Skip. There is a lot of important information here, but it falls short in offering solutions or ideas.


Educational Themes: Through Cody, children may better understand their own (or their peers') difficulty in learning. Cody's thoughts offer the opportunity for empathy and understanding. Unfortunately, they do not give the listeners ideas for ways they can support or help someone with dyslexia.

Literary Categories: fiction - picture book, health, illness, literacy, multicultural

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2008

Other Reviews:


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