Coming in April from Square One is Reversing Dyslexia: Improving Learning and Behavior Without Drugs by Phyllis Books. PW caught up with publisher Rudy Shur to talk about his personal connection to the title and how he hopes it will help families. Shur founded the independent publishing company in 2000, after Penguin’s purchase of Avery Publishing Group (where he was publisher) left him back at “square one.”
Tell us about how your own history with dyslexia led to publishing Reversing Dyslexia.
When I was 28, I saw a 60 Minutes segment about a Columbia University student who had sued her professor in order to be allowed to tape-record class lectures. Since she could not take notes due to her inability to write, being able to tape the lectures was the only way she could keep a record of the information she needed to learn. The program explained that this student was dyslexic, and went on to detail what the symptoms are. It was a life-altering moment for me. While I realized that my symptoms were not as severe as this student’s, it was obvious to me that I had suffered from exactly the same thing. Once I became a book publisher, I made a commitment to myself to look for those titles that offered help to parents of children who had learning disabilities. For the last 35 years, I’ve looked for professionals who have worked with these kinds of children and who have been able to show that their techniques work.
What does Reversing Dyslexia bring to the table for parents?
While dyslexia has several common symptoms—from difficulties with reading to the frequent reversal of letters and numbers—its underlying cause can differ from child to child. Thus one treatment may work for one child but not another. Dr. Books’s treatment is very different from Helen Irlen’s and Glenn Doman’s [popular parenting authors] respective approaches. She has spent over 25 years developing her approach by working directly with parents and their children. Her book also includes other treatments, so there’s room to find what will work best for anyone. Most important, her methods have all been proven successful—something that parents need to be able to count on when picking up the book.
What’s working well currently in the parenting category?
While I’m sure there are trends that prevail in parenting titles (as with most categories in the trade), I focus more as a publisher on how our books are going to help a parent than I do on the “flavor of the month” at any given time. Trends may come and go, but a book thoroughly grounded in a safe and solid approach that can legitimately help a child overcome a learning disorder is all that I care about from season to season. Any book that can help identify a learning problem a child is having and that offers real advice on overcoming the problem is a book that works for me.