Chicago Tribune,
 Sunday, August 7, 2005
Putting a Kid’s Life In Order
by Barbara Mahany

Every once in a while, along comes the book you swore you would have conjured up if only you’d had a magic wand. Voila: “The Organized Student: Teaching Children the Skills for Success in School and Beyond,” by Donna Goldberg with Jennifer Zwiebel (Fireside, $14 paper).

This plain-logic, indispensable 263-page volume is the pressed-between-covers version of the organizational guru to whom you would haul your discombobulated kid, if only you could find him or her somewhere under the mound of papers and socks and stuff that clog his or her black hole of a bedroom.

From reminding parents not to roll their eyes at the poor kid, to stripping down the backpack and showing how to get it supremely organized, this might be the go-to book for the half of the population that knows and loves at least one not-so-organized youngster. And get this: You might even declutter your own not-so-perfect life.

On distractions: “The number of distractions available to young students has increased exponentially, and their academic performance is suffering because of it. Without some training in how to handle the new paper flow, workload and schedule, a student is lost.
©2005 Chicago Tribune Company

The Plain Dealer,
 Wednesday, August 3, 2005
A Primer On Hitting the Books

by Pam Lilley, Special to The Plain Dealer

FROM THE SELF-HELP SHELF: The Organized Student (Fireside, $14) by Donna Goldberg with Jennifer Zwiebel.

Binders and labelers and folders, oh my! To get to this column, you may have waded through more than a few advertisements for back-to-school sales.

Seeing the color-coded, multipocketed organizing products, perhaps you feel optimistic that this is the year your child finally will get it together. Unfortunately, a positive attitude and new pack of highlighters will get your kid only so far.

If you really want to start this year off right, pick up a copy of Goldberg’s book. A former school librarian, she understands the habits of students, the expectations of teachers, the structure of schools and, most important, strategies for organization.

With photographic illustrations, Goldberg discusses the pros and cons of various organization systems and advises how to help your child find one that works best for him. Lists of questions for consideration are included.

The point she emphasizes often is that the student must be involved in the process to fully understand and adopt the new habit. With luck and perseverance, these skills will last throughout the school year and beyond.

©2005 Plain Dealer Publishing Co.

ADDitude Magazine,
 September 2005
Creating Order from Chaos

From kindergarten through high school, students who lack organizational skills face academic and psychological challenges. The good news, brought to us by author Donna Goldberg, is that even the most hopelessly disorganized child can be taught how to keep his papers, pencils, notebooks, and schedules in order.

In The Organized Student, Goldberg tells parents how to identify a child’s unique strengths and how to work with her to develop an organizational system that she will be capable of sticking with.

“The same brain that comes up with the problems can also come up with some ingenious solutions,” writes Goldberg, a professional organizer in New York City and the mother of a formerly disorganized son. “Once you figure out what’s getting in your child’s way, you can figure out how to help her overcome it, whether it means going over, under, or around the wall.”

The Organized Student offers a range of practical solutions for everyday organizational problems, including strategies for getting the best out of the school backpack, hallway locker, notebooks, and the desk at home. Goldberg also discusses how children can benefit from the use of a time-management planner, and shares strategies for tackling long-term projects, after-school activities, and special events. Her explanations are concise, thorough, and well-illustrated by photographs.

Goldberg sets forth rules for parents. Three examples:
  • Cede control—let your child “own” the process.
  • Keep quiet—let your child figure out the “shoulds.”
  • Give positive feedback—focus on what your child has accomplished, – not on what he hasn’t.

As a child, I struggled to overcome my own attention and learning disorders. I am the “scholastic Cinderella” described by Goldberg. If only my mother could have read Goldberg’s book 30 years ago, I would have avoided a lot of frustration and self-doubt.

Reviewed by Sydney Sauber, M.Ed., Ed.S., an educational consultant and learning-style specialist at NO SLIP Educational Solutions in the Boston area.
©2005 ADDitude