Book Review:

Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4-14:

A Resource for Parents and Teachers

by Chip Wood

When I was a teacher, there were certain books that I found extremely helpful when planning curriculum, looking at progress reports, or simply trying to figure out why a student was behaving in a certain way. Sometimes it was hard to tell what was a stage of development, what was a red flag, and what was merely a growth in personality. This book, Yardsticks, by Chip Wood, was my go-to guide for  age appropriateness in social, physical, and academic realms. Now, as a mother, it’s worth its weight in gold.

You see, my oldest just turned four. He’s always been a relatively serious, shy, cautious little guy who never took physical risks and rarely got hurt. Suddenly, I’m finding myself with some wild combination of Sonic the Hedgehog, Tigger, and the guy who used to narrate those Micro-Machines commercials in the late 80’s. He has stopped walking and pretty much runs everywhere. He talks CONSTANTLY to everyone, about everything. He has started doing flips off his bed, and his poor legs look like he played in the World Cup without shin guards. Enter Yardsticks.

According to Wood, “Fours are ready for everything. They are explorers and adventurers and are soaking up the world of knowledge with incredible speed. They are capable of almost nonstop mental and physical gymnastics. Parents and teachers need vast amounts of energy to keep up with these young dynamos.” (31-32). Phew. A phase that would pass.

For each age, Wood goes into great detail describing growth patterns as they pertain to physical, social, language, and cognitive skills. He also talks about what each age should be expected to do in the classroom from a day-to-day tasks standpoint as well as basic curricular milestones (i.e., Fours should begin to “parallel” read with an adult where… “the child ‘reads’ one page (telling a familiar story) you read the next”). Until my sons are 14, the oldest age covered in this book, I can guarantee I will be pulling this book out a LOT.

If I could only recommend one book for parents about child growth and development this would be it. It really provides useful information about what you can expect both at home and at school. Best of all, it does so in a concise, easy-to-understand manner. Check it out! I promise you won’t regret having this on your shelf.

Yardsticks, by Chip Wood

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