Finding Your Special Kind of Smart

Book Review: Cartwheels, by Tracy Peterson with Sloane LaFrance

Parents often ask for help in explaining a diagnosis of dyslexia to very young children. This new, delightfully-illustrated picture book is perfect for that task. The book tells the story of Sloane, a six-year-old girl who loved artwork and telling stories, and who was good with numbers and gymnastics. Most of all, she loved turning cartwheels wherever she went.

But learning to read? No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t remember which letters were which, or what sounds were supposed to go with each letter – and she definitely couldn’t remember whole words.

The book perfectly captures the feelings that are familiar to all dyslexic children. Sloane’s teachers urged her to “Pay Attention!” or “Focus!” or “Try Harder. ” But as hard as she tried, “that reading stuff just didn’t make sense in my brain.”

Then Sloane got a special teacher, who explained that every brain works differently. With her new teacher, she “went back to the start” and learned “the reading code in a different way that made more sense to my brain.” In the end, the words started to make sense. Sloane learned that everyone is “their own special kind of smart” and can learn to read in their own way.

Sloane is a real person, and the book author, Tracy Peterson, is her real-world teacher. The book does not specify what sort of help the teacher gave, but from the illustrations we can see that they included hands-on techniques to learn letters and words. In the end, Sloane learned to tie words to their meanings. This makes the book suitable for kids doing Davis programs, as well as just about any other sort of specialized help or tutoring.

  • Title: Cartwheels: Finding Your Special Kind of Smart
  • Publisher : Et Alia Press (March 9, 2021) (Enter Discount Code DAVIS10 at checkout for 10% off)
  • Reading age : 5 – 8 years