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Closing the literacy gap: how artistic Alice’s reading went from stop to go, go, go!

The Problem

Alice loved stories. From a very young age, mum and daughter started the routine of sitting down together each evening to devour a bedtime story. Katherine, Alice’s mother, was delighted to see how hungry she was to be read to, learn new things, and engage her vibrant imagination in tales of magic and adventure.

However, reading on her own was something Alice never wanted to do. In fact, she hated it.

This contradiction really started to confuse and worry Katherine when Alice was 7 years old, because it was getting steadily worse. Alice also became intensely frustrated with any homework that involved reading, and pretty soon all homework became torturous. The whole family dreaded it.

From what Katherine could tell, Alice’s reading was incredibly stilted. She would re-read lines over and over, lack any kind of fluency and finish a page with a very thinly veiled understanding of what she had just been reading. Not to mention tears and tantrums.

Spelling meanwhile, seemed to have come to a complete standstill.

So Katherine set to work looking for a solution. At first they came across the Toe by Toe system, and decided to give it a go. The phonetic approach seemed helpful in theory. But pretty soon it became known to them as “death by Toe by Toe”! The dull as dishwater approach left creative-minded Alice feeling utterly unmotivated.

It was during a routine Google search that Katherine then came across Easyread. After just a few minutes on the website, she really felt that this system would fit the bill for her daughter – scientifically informed, built on experience and credible. She had a clear sense that a lot of thought and planning had gone into the whole setup, which was reassuring and counter to other systems she had found.

The Solution

From the very first lesson Alice was head over heels. And so was Mum! The value of being able to call the team any time and discuss concerns and strategies was incredibly helpful. The Easyread Support team knew what she was talking about, and offered confident practical advice. No longer did Alice’s reading conundrum seem strange and baffling; Katherine now understood why her child had experienced these problems and what she needed to do to change that.

As the weeks went by, Alice’s decoding ability was coming on nicely, and she looked forward to her lessons and prizes. Easyread was part of the furniture! But something was then unearthed that Katherine had NEVER considered as being a potential issue for her daughter: eye-tracking weakness.

The team recommended a set of simple physical exercises, and Alice’s reaction made it clear that this was an issue for her. All this time she had been struggling to move her eyes from one word to the next. No wonder reading had her clenching her fists in frustration!

It was a revelation. Ten days later, following a good dose of determination (and some Sylvanian Families bribery), Alice was back on track.

Having a background in medical science, Katherine found David Morgan’s research, findings and general philosophy on helping children learn to read, revolutionary. Learning more about the auditory processing system and how the brain performs the complex act of reading was incredibly useful in allowing the mum of three to help her daughter effectively. Since completing this program, Katherine has used her newly acquired understanding of the value of decoding to help steer her younger child down the correct reading pathway.

Of course Katherine knew that generating positive psychology was going to be important in helping her daughter to learn. And yet, the Easyread team took this method to a whole new level…and boy did it work! To start with, the verbal encouragement and physical reward system was a real driving force for Alice. As time went on and she became more capable, the initial rewards became less of a requirement. From an emotional perspective, this was something Katherine was incredibly happy to see. Alice was now comfortable in her own skin, trusting in her ability to read.

The Result

Alice can now read aloud fluently and with expression. She has excelled in the reading programme the school have been using, having accelerated like a rocket through the various levels. So much so that she recently qualified for a school trip to a book festival!

She enjoys nothing more than sitting in her room reading independently. Her spelling is also steadily improving. Since completing Easyread Accelerator, they have begun working Alice through the Spellmagic booster materials as well, which she is enjoying enormously.

Before beginning Easyread in 2011, Alice was between 1.5 and 2 years behind with her reading and writing. In her other subjects such as Maths and Science, she was at least 2 years above the average. Now, her reading has come so far that she is comfortably average for her age. And what’s more, Katherine knows that this is far from the end of the story!

So what is Mum’s final word on Easyread?

“I cannot thank you enough David, and all your staff, for setting up such an incredibly helpful and effective system. I have recommended this to several people since, including teachers. To my mind there is a distinct lack of awareness, along with endless queues for educational psychologists. But this system really empowered us within our home to make a huge difference to our daughter’s life. Now pass me the hankies (and champagne)!!”


Laura O’Sullivan has enjoyed watching Ailsa shine, in her role as a System Coach for Easyread, an online phonics course specially developed for children with highly visual learning styles, dyslexia, auditory processing problems and more.