Red Flags for Primary Teachers

It seems like awhile back that I got an email or phone call from our colleague, Dr. Nancy Torgerson, asking if I’d chat with an educator from Seattle who was interested in writing a book about visual issues.   I get these requests from time to time and am always happy to help those outside our profession help share their new-found enthusiasm for visual function with the rest of the world.

Katie Johnson had three books published about teaching writing to young children at the time that she sent me her manuscript with the request to write a foreword for her new book.  She had served as an adjunct professor of literacy in the teacher-training program of the University of Washington and given many professional development presentations across the United States. I was encouraged when I read the manuscript that this was a nuts and bolts effort that spoke directly to teachers’ minds and hearts.  The result is a book that is a must-read for teachers and its cost is reasonable enough that ODs should consider donating copies to local schools, libraries, and individual teachers.

Red Flags is unique in its style of having multiple sections that introduce a visual concept, illustrating it with a real life story, and concluding with a paragraph oriented toward teachers entitled “What Do I Do Next?”  In that regard it resonates with the classroom teacher who is trying to balance offering some sort of effective guidance or intervention, balanced with the need for professional input.  The book borrows freely from David Cook, Lynn Hellerstein, Carla Hannaford, and BrainDance, among other sources.  It even has a QR code the reader can scan to go directly to the COVD website for a doctor locator.  Teachers will find bite size tips for a variety of problems, some of which are more complex that what a book of this nature can offer.  It’s pocket size lends it to serving as a handbook that a teacher can flip through in case she sees a child exhibiting one or more of the red flags compiled by Katie, and treatment activities that may help.  It is always mindful of indications for professional guidance by a developmental optometrist.

You can order the book directly from the publisher, through, or the Barnes & Noble website.  (And yes, Katie will be sure the cover for the second printing identifies me as an O.D. rather than a D.O.!)


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