I was given a book called A Life in Balance by Frank Belgau as told to Eric Belgau to review from the Learning Breakthrough Program which aims to help and inspire parents and others who work with children who need reading improvement, are dyslexic or have ADHD and are looking for alternative treatment. However this book isn’t only geared towards those with learning hardships as it can also help those who are gifted or may just want a way to exercise their brain to increase their learning capabilities. Geared towards adults, especially those who work with children it could also benefit teens who may be working with children.
From the back cover of the book:
In the mid-1960s, Frank Belgau was an elementary school teacher with a revolutionary idea: What if the children our education system had given up on—the ones the experts called “brain injured”—could actually learn to read?
Forty years later, Belgau’s remarkable insights into the nature and treatment of learning disabilities have fundamentally changed our understanding of the mind—and given thousands of young people the gift of literacy.
Written by his son, Eric, A Life in Balance documents Frank Belgau’s heroic attempts to uncover unconventional practices that would unlock their real potential. At its heart was one clear goal: Discovering what would create an immediate, observable improvement in reading. It’s a journey that culminates in the development of the Learning Breakthrough Program, Belgau’s cutting-edge (yet remarkably simple) therapeutic approach that strengthens the body and mind using movement and balance.
More than a treatise, A Life in Balance is an in-the-trenches look at the ceaseless research, powerful personalities, and supreme resistance Belgau encounters in this single-minded effort. And it’s a moving story of one man who simply wouldn’t give up on the most vulnerable among us when others would.
The book is 216 pages and is actually quite a fast read, however, I am going to go back and re-read it again as there is much information to be had in the reading of this book and I’m hoping to be able to implement some or all of the ideas in regards to my 7 year old son who knows all his letter sounds but putting them together into words is proving difficult. I’m hoping with using the information in this book I can better help him begin reading and improve upon his written school work as well. As one who has worked in the handicapped field I’ve seen and learned about many of the past ways people with disabilities and handicaps are and were treated and hearing this account from someone on the inside of the schools makes me sad and I’m glad that there is someone out there who strove to help and make their lives better.
Using scientific research skills and common sense this book has many ways of explaining how the brain works and puts together the information that it is given and how using the Learning Breakthrough Program can help with learning that otherwise students may get stumped on. Towards the end of the book there are some experiments given, such as those mentioned through out the book that were tested in classrooms. The other aspect of the book is the activities given that you can do in your home to evaluate your child as well as getting them moving and engage the mind such as walk line heel to toe, two foot hop, jump and turn and others. There are items you can purchase to facilitate even more work that is discussed in this book like the balance board, but I’ve gained a lot from having just read the book itself and I’m coming up with ways to utilize what I’ve learned in regards to helping my son with his reading. The ‘last’ chapter details how the struggle to make sure struggling learners get what they need without being left to fall through the cracks and this is another chapter I appreciate, instead of thinking the battle had been won the realization that there is still much work to be done and the ‘crusade’ of helping struggling learners continues.
You can connect with the Learning Breakthrough Program on Facebook, Twitter and on YouTube. and if you’d like to read it yourself grab your own copy it’s priced at $16.94 currently. If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought about the Learning Breakthrough Program book, A Life in Balance please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.