Lorna Kaufman is a local Boston author who specializes in reading disorders among children. Her new release, Smart Kid, Can’t Read, is now available on Amazon.
Tell me a little bit about who you are and where you live.
I am a developmental psychologist who lives in Boston. I specialize in reading problems and evaluate children who struggle with reading. I see children from all the New England states, and in fact, from many different countries.
Tell us about your profession and how it led to your latest work.
Smart Kid, Can’t Read offers step-by-step real world advice to anyone trying to navigate the hurdles of getting a child reading help – a task that can be truly daunting. Getting children reading assistance that leads to meaningful improvement often requires that parents take on the role of an informed advocate. The good news is that armed with this program, parents can get their children help before it is too late. Parents will learn key points every parent advocate should know. Armed with information about the special education law, research based reading instruction, and effective, unbiased evaluations, parents will learn to take steps that launch their children into a successful reading experience.
Currently in our country between 35-36% of school aged children struggle with reading and read below their grade level. Reading problems exist in every public school in the country and affect children from all racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds. However, children from Hispanic, African American and American Indian backgrounds experience the greatest difficulty with reading. Children who have trouble learning to read, often experience shame and try to hide their difficulty. Many drop out of school (88% of high school drop outs struggle with reading).
Are there any favorite local spots you like to visit, ones that inspire your creativity?
My husband and I bought an old farmhouse on the coast of Maine many years ago. That is where I go to be inspired. I love the quiet and the beautiful woods that go down to the sea. I spend my days writing, gardening and landscaping while my husband writes and builds stone walls.
Wow us with shock value. Is there anything about you that would surprise readers?
A colleague once said of me that one could never really know me unless they had seen me work with children. I think there is some truth to that. I love working with children. Not sure that is very shocking but they are the reason that I have stayed in the field for so long.
If you could spend a day with any author, living or dead – who would it be and why?
I’m a history buff and particularly enjoy reading biographies. I’ve recently finished a book by David Kertzer, The Pope and Mussolini. That book was beautifully researched and written. I’ve learned that he lives near me so I would love to meet him.
Does the area in which you live provide influence in your writing? How so?
The children and their parents primarily influence me. Their stories really touch me. It is very frustrating to watch what these families go through – particularly when we know how to prevent reading problems and what to do to help children if they have trouble learning to read. It is unconscionable that in a country like ours that we allow so many children to experience this shame and failure. Reading is not just an academic activity. Reading failure is directly linked to poverty and crime.
What is the most critical piece of advice you would give to new authors?
I think authors are best advised to write about what they care about and what they know about. If you care passionately about a subject, it is much easier to express truth. I think good writing, both fiction and non-fiction, always comes from honesty.
Are there more books coming from you in the future? Do Tell!
I don’t have any plans right now. I really think of myself as more of a professional who had something to say than an author.
Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
I have a website where people can learn more about parent advocacy. It is so important that parents learn how to advocate for services for their children. In my experience, children whose parents advocate on their behalf receive more help with reading, and better quality help than children whose parents do not advocate on their behalf. I have developed a successful plan to help parents learn how to advocate effectively for their children in the public school system.