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smiling boy 03

Teen Mark had gone from reading swimmingly to sinking fast in just a few short years.  And just when all seemed lost, Easyread became his life raft…

The Problem

Somehow over the course of Primary Year 4, Mark went from hanging in there with his reading to needing learning support on a daily basis. Pretty soon his mother Diana began to see why.

Mark had certainly never been a high flying reader, but he always achieved what he needed to – just about. It was when his classmates started on chapter books however that his grasp of reading began falling further and further behind. What seemed even stranger was the fact that he could read more complicated words totally fine and yet would routinely stumble with a very simple, short word. He had never enjoyed reading, but once the guessing started to escalate a lack of engagement turned into active resistance, particularly with reading aloud in the classroom. Diana was worried.

The one-on-one support continued into secondary school, and yet it was still as if Mark’s progress was still at a standstill. What’s more, by this stage he was very far indeed behind his classmates, and therefore barely able to complete work in class given the emphasis on reading in all subjects.  As for spelling, this was a significant difficulty as well. Diana describes it as atrocious.

At 13 years old, Mark was well aware that there was a problem, and yet both mother and son had no idea what to do about it. All they knew was that major standardized testing (GCSEs) were on the horizon, and that was a very worrisome prospect indeed.

The Solution

It was around this time that Diana started doing some research online to try and better understand the perplexing difficulties Mark was experiencing. Easyread was amongst the gamut of reading interventions she came across, and something about it caught her eye. The explanation of the 8 Causes of Reading Difficulty for one thing seemed concise, logical and well-informed. When she went on to read about the 10 years’ worth of evidence-based and scientific research behind what was being said, she felt even more encouraged. So she read on…

The hands-on involvement they invited from the parent, the emphasis on easy learning and fun, and the fact that each lesson was restricted to 10 minutes, all fitted perfectly from a practical point of view. There was no way she was going to be able to force her headstrong teenage son to do anything he didn’t want to do, and she really felt as if he would come to this of his own free will! After having a go on the trial lesson Diane was pleased to be proven right; Mark really liked the setup just as much as she did. And so they signed up without delay.

It wasn’t long before Diana and Mark started to think of Easyread as a kind of godsend. The easy-going approach of the whole system and the principles of the Guided Phonetic Reading methodology which underpinned it, made learning seem totally implicit. She could also see how the system was subtly introducing more complex language as the months went by, and was thrilled to see Mark decode rather than sight-memorise words for the first time in his life.

Diana always knew that the support team could be reached and certainly made use of their advice, for instance with regards to the eye-tracking exercises they suggested, which helped him tremendously. But equally they were left alone to complete their daily lesson in their own home, which gave them a feeling of independence.

The Result

After just a few days Mark’s reading started to improve. After a couple of months, he was reading confidently in front of the class – something he never would have done before. Now at 15, having finished the program he is a capable and eager reader who enjoys reading for pleasure. He no longer needs to be taken out of his lessons for learning support either. In fact, he has been bumped up 3 reading levels. As for his spelling, he is embarking on his first GCSE year with average spelling for his age — something which seemed inconceivable a year ago.

Most important of all for Diana is the fact that by becoming more able to read and write her son has started to enjoy English, enjoy his lessons and even enjoys his homework! He is model pupil in fact! The future looks bright for Mark.