Sam's Trouble with Words ISBN: 9781910039083
Published by British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), 2014
Sam has already lived with four foster families, and although he has been told that Paul and Kitty will be his permanent foster carers, he doesn't really believe this. He is convinced that when they discover he is 'thick' he will be moved again, and he really wants to be accepted in a family. As he starts his new school, he decides the best thing to do is to keep the fact that he has problems with reading, writing and spelling to himself, and thus begins a long, tense time for him as he lies and gets himself out of all sorts of situations that would tell his secret. Another child in the class, Rebecca, has problems too. She walks with difficulty and is slow of speech and has a special helper. When she tries to make friends with Sam, he isn't having it. He thinks she is thick too, and that it won't do his street cred any good to be seen as her friend. As time goes on, Sam becomes more and more miserable, and when he also forgets things, such as his gym kit or his homework, things come to a head. In a meeting with the headmaster, his teacher, Kitty, and his social worker he is told about dyslexia and that they suspect he may be suffering from it. They are positive and helpful and Sam comes out of the meeting (which had terrified him) feeling much better about himself. He also learns about Rebecca's Global Developmental Delay, which happened because she was premature, and they become fast friends. After Sam's assessment, which is explained in some detail, he must wait a week for the results - which show he is definitely dyslexic. He is pleased to have a name to put to his problems and begins to look forward to all the special help he will be able to receive. The story, a chapter book perfect for newly-confident readers, is very well written, and while there are facts involved, most of it is pure story. The facts really come later in a series of questions and answers at the end of the book. Small colour illustrations are scattered throughout the book. While severely dyslexic children will need the story read to them, it will prove a positive and helpful introduction to the whole concept of dyslexia and how it can be helped. Available from Amazon, from good bookshops, or from the publisher: BAAF. Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London EC 1N 8TS, Tel: 0207421 2600.