Book Reviews

Book by Monica Gribben
Review by Tyrone Smith, M.Ed
Sophomore Counselor, EOF Department
Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ

The university landscape continues to change as students enter college with a multitude of new academic concerns; concerns that would have been underserviced in years prior, but are now connected with the life and longevity of university’s nationwide. One such academic concern is the prevalence of learning disabilities among college freshmen. As learning disabilities become commonplace among newly admitted college students, colleges and university have scrambled to meet the needs of these students by providing adequate academic support. Although colleges and universities provide the best support services possible to students who possess learning disabilities, there are still a significant number of students who slip through admission undetected. One of the more common and easily hidden learning disabilities is dyslexia. The rate of students entering college with Dyslexia continues to increase while higher education institutions have yet to decide on a universally accepted screening method for incoming students (Tops et al., 2012, pp186-188).  Students who enter college with dyslexia often times hide their diagnosis due to the manageability of it, or are unaware of their learning disability because they never received testing for it. 

Advisors are usually the ones left to assist undiagnosed students who are struggling with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia. The Study Skills Toolkit for Students with Dyslexia provides significant assistance in aiding these types of students. Generally it is understood that dyslexia is a learning disability that affects reading and word comprehension. However, it is much more complex than that. Dyslexia is better described as a processing interference that affects memory, spatial processing, time management, and other cognitive abilities that are vital to literacy; like speech and phonics ( Reid, 2003, pp. 4-5). Due to dyslexia’s varied nature, it is difficult to provide learning strategies that are fit for different students. The key strengths of this text are in providing a multitude of learning strategies for dyslexia. The text makes sure to inform the reader that dyslexia does not have a universal learning strategy, but that each student requires a learning strategy that is unique to them and their form of dyslexia (Gribben, 2012, p6).  Advisors have an amazing opportunity to provide assistance to their students who may be struggling with dyslexia. The majority of the text is actual hands on examples of effective learning strategies. The learning strategies addressed in the text range from assisting dyslexic students who suffer from organization issues, text book reading issues, time management, and even note taking in class. Another positive of the text is that many of the strategies can be applied to assisting other, non dyslexic, students as well should an advisor feel the need to employ these strategies. The text goes to great lengths to detail exactly how to perform each type of strategy because it was written as a text book for students.

In going into such detail the text shows one of its flaws. The text expects the reader, who is supposed to be a dyslexic student, to dissect such a large amount of information while ignoring the fact that a dyslexic student may have a difficult time navigating the sometimes overwhelming text. This is a minor oversight that can easily be corrected with guided instruction provided by the proper facilitator. This is a highly recommended text, especially for those advisors who may have multiple roles in aiding their students.


Tops, W., Callens, M., Lammertyn, J., Van Hees, V., & Brysbaert, M. (2012). Identifying students with dyslexia in higher education. Annals of Dyslexia, 62(3), 186-203. doi:

Reid, G. (2003), Dyslexia: A Practitioner's Handbook, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.

Gribben, M. (2012), The Study Skills Toolkit for Students with Dyslexia, Sage Publications ltd,

The Study Skills Toolkit for Students with Dyslexia. (2012). Book by Monica Gribben. Review by Tyrone Smith. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. 208 pp., $43.00  ISBN # 978-0-857-02932-4
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