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First Aid for Readers Review by Leah Rumsey

Nanette L. Avery, ED.S.
2021 Pine Lake Road, Suite 100
Lincoln, NE 68512

Have you ever read a passage, book, or even an advertisement, and moments later you completely forgot what you just read? First Aid for Readers is a guidebook that contains twenty short chapters to help improve your reading skills. You may use this guide to build comprehension, memory, and writing skills. The book starts with a simple “What’s the Purpose?” which explores the question “Why am I reading this?” Once you understand the purpose you can move onto the main idea, signal words, context clues, predicting, clarification, point of view, summarizing, and understanding math word problems.

First Aid for Readers can be used for upper elementary and higher grades. This guide is a great asset for those who have difficulties in reading, book report writing, or struggle with math word problems. For confidence building, we have used several worksheets that are written in the guide. The “Get the Gist” worksheet implements the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How, for the reader to list all of these out in an organized manner. At the end of the worksheet, it asks to write the “Gist” of the reading in 20 words. The “Reciprocal Reading Worksheet” helped outline the before, during, and after of the writing that was read. This alleviated the stress of comprehension and writing because it was formatted in a clean, short, and informative way.

We copied onto a board the signal words, prefix, suffix, and root words to catch what essential information is being relayed. In the back of the book, there is a Concept Map, Cause and Effect Organizer, Vocabulary Web, and a Story Organizer. These guides have been a key to writing informative book reports and comprehension of the writing we have read. Without these guides, the skills that were being built throughout the book would not have been executed properly by my students. 

We appreciated the chapter “Run for Your Lives, It’s Math!” In the use of the saying “Red Queens Demand Orange Quilts,” each word represents a key element, reading, question, data, operations, and question to see if everything is answered properly. This has worked for all grade level math problems.

First Aid for Readers has been an extremely informative and easy guide to follow. The book format has been written in a short and organized way. We quickly realized anything in a bold font was a key element that needed to be reinforced or used. One factor I would have found helpful is a way to be able to copy the worksheets for multiple uses, whether this is accessed online free or through a purchase. 

I would highly recommend this book to be included in your resource selection. It has been an informative, helpful, and eye-opening experience to improve reading skills in various formats. 

-Product review by Leah Rumsey, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2020