What was reading practice and spelling like for Gabriel before Easyread? (main concerns, consistent patterns and frustrations)

Before Easyread, reading practice was unproductive and often frustrating. He had met all age-related transitional markers (sitting, crawling, walking, talking…), was socially adjusted and did well in school until reading started. He did well initially, but never progressed passed letters in isolation. He excels far beyond his age in mathematics and technology. The main concerns which developed were an inability to see the similarity of two words, i.e.: \”we\” and \”we\”, when placed in close proximity, the inability to consistently recall directionality (reading from left to right or letter position – p/b/q/d…). (We had previously read right to left in another language and this may not have helped.) He struggled with copy writing and wasn’t at the level of spelling when we started Easyread. Speech and pronunciation (th/s/r/tr…) were becoming a concern as well as these were showing signs of less development than in other areas.

What types of reading and spelling support had been tried with him before Easyread?

The stagnation in his reading progression led us to try different approaches (phonetic, sight word memorization (i.e.: flash cards), letter imagery (M=Mountain…), syllabic), contextual and visual cueing. We tried different languages (as we are from a multi-lingual family), different text sizes and colours and a reading guide (like a construction square but adjusted to the size of the text being read). His vision was tested. We had also saw a speech-language pathologist.

How was the day to day experience of working through the DM Easyread process like for you both? (the highs… and the lows!)

The day to day experience of working through the DM Easyread process was overall very positive. It provided a predictable routine of both fun and collaborative focus reading with measurable success. I incorporated speech therapy into our reading as it lent itself to this very nicely, focusing on one sound over a period of time. There were some lows. We were both challenged to find the balance between \”push\” and \”flow\”. All I know is that sometimes I push too hard. Ultimately this leads to a re-balancing whereby I push less and he tries more. Routine and consistency seems to be key for him. If we don’t skipped two days, the following day would be harder.

What have been the outcomes so far for Gabriel, including any remaining frustrations?

The outcomes thus far have been a graduation from the KG level of letter identification to a beginning Grade 2 level (Canadian system). He now knows most Dolce Sight Words up to Grade 3. His speed is increasing. He is reading Easy Readers (along the lines of the Cat in the Hat) independently for the first time and enjoying it. He has had a basic introduction to touch typing and to spelling. Remaining frustrations are that he cannot read technical manuals and more advanced science texts, where his interests lie. We are managing this by reading bigger words for him and supporting him to read the words he can read.

How do you feel it has shifted his life path and how does the investment made, both financial and in time taken, compare to that view of his future?

The financial investment in Easyread was significant for us and not one that was taken lightly. We had done our research and had gotten to a point of being ready to make such an investment for the progress anticipated. The progress anticipated was achieved, and for this I am grateful. We needed this support and I believe that it has made a very positive impact on his life by giving him the boost he needed to catch up, to become an independent reader, to eventually be able to read what he wishes to read. It provided the added bonus of material and context upon which to base speech therapy. It provided a further bonus to introduce touch typing and spelling. The parent training was an important component and I strongly recommend it.