Izzy always loved being read to. Mum Sheryl remembers that when she turned 2 she was able to recite all her favourite books word-for-word. It seemed impossible that her daughter would be anything but a high flying reader once school began.
However when Izzy began full-time education at age 4 it was like she just wasn’t ready to board the train yet. The school day was more tiring for her than any of the other children and all she wanted was to be back at nursery playing with her dolls. Being a naturally care-free and bubbly child, she ploughed on with little complaint. For a while it worked; she seemed to be making good progress and was one of the most popular children in her class.
Within the space of 1 year the situation could not have been more different. Suddenly a reluctance to read raised its ugly head and permeated everything Izzy felt and did during her school day.
Even as a small child Izzy was a stubborn perfectionist. She was unwilling to learn anything new unless she could achieve it flawlessly by herself. But when it came to reading, Sheryl saw a whole new side to her daughter’s temperament. As soon as she heard the words “learn”, “read” or “let me show you this” she was off like a shot! If ever she did sit down to look at a book, every other word was a haphazard guess based on the pictures.
Izzy attended a high achieving school, so Sheryl and her partner Matt were aware that when the teacher flagged up Izzy as ‘underachieving’, it needed to be taken with a pinch of salt. Despite this there was no denying that their daughter’s reading difficulties were profoundly affecting her ability to perform even the simplest task.
Sheryl decided to sign her up with a literacy tutor twice a week. But Izzy was so tired when she got home from school that anything extra seemed impossible. As such she gained nothing from it.
Next, thinking that a variety of resources and stimulating material would be the way forward, Sheryl began compiling a collection of fun-filled books. They tried everything – books which were based on stories about loving books; books that were pink; books that had pop-up pictures; books that came with disks and songs – all to no avail. Izzy still wanted her mystified parents to read them all to her!
At around that time things began to spiral out of control at school. Izzy’s confidence was incredibly low, and Sheryl was informed that at age 6, her daughter was reading at the level of a 4 year old.
Feeling wearied but determined, she undertook some internet research and came across the Easyread System. Suddenly Sheryl was filled with fresh hope. She could relate to David Morgan’s take on reading difficulties. Moreover, when she read the details of the 7 main causes of reading difficulty the ‘Stress Spiral’ was a perfect explanation of her daughter!
Izzy trialled the free lesson and, for once, was actually enjoying doing something where she was learning. Her amazed parents instantly signed up.
The fabulous prizes and the shortness of each entertaining lesson was a godsend. Sheryl was also impressed that from day 1, the Support Team was on-hand to address concerns, provide advice and spot any problems that Izzy was facing. Instead of being at loggerheads; mother and daughter were now working together to learn something new every day!
Since then, they haven’t once looked back…
4 weeks into the course, Izzy’s reading had noticeably improved. Within 4 months she had gone from reading level 3 to level 6 books. Seven months into the course, she is now reading level 9 books fluently. Simply put; in the space of just 7 months Izzy has gone from being a non-reader, to a free reader.
Izzy is as feisty now as she ever was! But mum and dad can rest assured that she is constantly moving forward with her reading. What’s more, she has the confidence to feel that she is a valuable member of her class and loves going to school each day. For Sheryl this means the world: “I can now think back to that hopeless feeling I had last March and just smile. We’re so proud of Izzy and most importantly, she’s proud of herself too”.
Laura O’Sullivan is a Program Coach for the Easyread System, an online phonics course specifically developed for children with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and highly visual learning styles. Found out more about how Easyread provides support for spelling and reading problems at www.easyreadsystem.com