By Fay Tran
Clarry enjoyed his year at pre-school. He loved listening to stories and looking at books. He couldn’t wait to start primary school so that he could learn to read.
But learning to read proved very difficult for Clarry, even though he practised his Golden Words list and his take-home books every night. Clarry became very unhappy at school and decided that he was too stupid to learn to read.
This children's picture book tells the story of a little boy very unhappy because he was struggling to learn to read at school. He is comforted by his little dog and an imaginary cloud. When a new principal changes the way reading is taught at school, Clarry does learn to read and is overcome with joy.
Order from the author by email. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also available from Amazon and the iTunes store as an iBook.
Comments and reviews.
This is a book that every student-teacher, teacher-trainer and teacher should be given to read. Plus, all the politicians and detractors from phonics. Plus, all the Reading Recovery personnel and teachers who persist with multi-cueing guessing strategies.
As I read it, the faces of children I have known, children just like Clarry, real children, flashed through my mind. So many of them. So much unnecessary misery and loss of self-esteem and loss of life-chances. I inherited such children in various schools in various contexts.
I don’t get why others don’t get this scenario and why they persist with reading strategies that set children off on an entirely wrong trajectory for their reading profile.
Fay – this is a wonderful little book with a very, very clear, fundamentally important message. It would be a wonderful book for children, but actually, the book is very much an adult book, for adults, for all of us, to know it just as it is in millions of schools to this day.
Well said and well done.
I love the clear illustrations – they speak volumes from the child’s perspective.
This book should be on the reading lists of all teacher-training establishments.
As a representative of the UK Reading Reform Foundation, in 2005 Debbie advised the British government for the parliamentary inquiry, ‘Teaching Children to Read”. She was awarded the MBE for services to education in 2012.
Clarry, in the story, fails to learn to read simply because no one is teaching him how to tackle words by using knowledge of letter-to-sound correspondences. Instead he is encouraged to guess words, for example by using the pictures in his books.
Clarry and the little white cloud is a valuable addition to the resources that support direct and explicit teaching of phonic skills to all beginners.
I recommend this story as an aid in the process of turning around the sense of despair, whether overtly articulated or not, that may accompany unsuccessful attempts to learn to read. The sensitivity, warmth and obvious concern for the learners with which Fay Tran approaches the task, make it a very useful addition to the armoury of the reading teacher.
Former remedial and adaptive teacher in South Australian secondary schools.
Fay Tran, with her long involvement with children with reading difficulties, has written an important little book, an easy-to-read, moving story. There should be at least one copy in every primary school to help staff and students understand the traumas (feelings etc??) of children with reading difficulties.
Nan Bodsworth, children’s author and illustrator.
Molly de Lemos, AM, researcher, psychologist and grandmother, who has followed the reading progress of five grandchildren exposed to different methods of teaching reading .
I have had the pleasure of watching the creation of this delightful and poignant storybook as it formed from an idea in Fay’s mind. I love the fact that she developed it with her grandchildren, and that they were able to understand her thoughts about children and the way many of them struggle to learn to read.
Parents sharing this story with their children will have a wonderful opportunity to talk with them about feelings of failure and worry about learning, and children will readily identify with the endearing character of Clarry, his dog, family and school. The imagery of the cloud will draw children along as they explore each page.
This story comes from Fay’s many years of experience and deep commitment to authentic teaching and learning. Her continuing work with students who fail to learn has caused her to question the way we teach reading in schools, and to realize that children and parents need a voice in the process.
I congratulate her on her vision and determination to create this positive and optimistic story, whilst questioning the current practices in the teaching of reading in the majority of schools, which cause so much distress to so many children and their families.
Meredith Davies, LDA consultant and teacher
Congratulations to Fay Tran on her book – “Clarry and the Little White Cloud”- for the courage to confront the failures in our education system and for the skills, patience and empathy shown to our children with literacy problems – the victims of our current system.
I was a successful student but naïve mother. I had no understanding of the complexity of teaching children to read – let alone the inadequacy of our education system; especially for children with Specific Learning Difficulties. As parents we were doing all the things we thought were correct to progress our children- reading stories to them, talking to them, music groups and play groups. We sent them to preschool and then eagerly off to school. We were reassured by the school and teachers that they knew what they were doing and what was best for our children’s learning.
As Clarry did, we too went through Reading Recovery, Golden Words, guessing words, looking at pictures and more guessing- with failure to progress in all areas. As parents we were concerned – we knew our child and knew that this wasn’t right. Many meetings just resulted in more reassurance and more encouragement to guess and look at pictures. We were advised to draw in sand, in foam, to make puppets – the list was endless. And still our son could not read – not even simple words like ‘of’.
With failure to progress through our formal education system we took it upon ourselves to find help for our son. With great fortune we made contact with Fay Tran and we haven’t looked back. Fay, like Mrs Quin in the book, worked on teaching phonics and other reading skills. She kindly and patiently demanded accuracy and with time progress was made.
The gift of literacy is beyond words of thanks or physical gifts. It is one of the most precious opportunities we can give our children. Fay Tran is responsible for teaching our son to read and I will be forever grateful for her gift to our son. There are only white clouds in our sky!
Clarry shows parents that even with his Mum’s offer of help, he is quickly becoming a poor student with low self-esteem. When the “sound the word” approach is tried, Clarry at last finds success. It changes his whole attitude to himself and his ability to learn.
Fay Tran writes from a dedicated life time of experience teaching poor students to read.
“Clarry and the Little White Cloud” is a delightful book for parents and children alike. It enables them to grasp the simple tool of the phonetic approach to reading. Parents will be able to intervene and experience success in the very early stages of their child’s difficulties in learning to read.
Children will enjoy the pictures, benefit from parents’ involvement and achieve success in learning to read.
I would like to recommend it as a story that can bring hope to parents and to children for whom guessing and looking at the pictures does not bring forth reading.
Yvonne Meyer, parent
I have just finished reading this (Clarry and the Little White Cloud) to my reception class. The children related to a lot of the story and have decided that you must be spying on us! They are writing to you… I think it was the story line as these guys have just started school. We have been doing families etc. and now they want a Grandparents’ Day. Thanks for helping us with our learning.