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It seemed that Harry the super sight-reader would never happily pick up a book. Now he smiles, he reads and most of all, he enjoys life!

The Problem

At age 5 Harry had everything going for him. He loved the activity of reading, and he’d been speaking fluently since age 2 using superb vocabulary. He also had a huge knowledge base and a powerful imagination. However, from the first day that he started to learn phonics at school everything changed.

Making the ‘oooa’ ‘eee’ and ‘arr’ sounds as seen on a flashcard was no problem. But if you asked him to apply it to a word he saw on the page of a book he looked totally blank. Harry could not fathom that one thing had anything to do with the other. As a result, very soon he became reluctant to read. Mum Susie, was shocked – she just hadn’t seen this coming.

The school were very relaxed about the situation, at first. The fact that he was a summer baby, a boy and ‘an old fashioned sight-reader’ were, they felt, good reasons to believe that given time it would just come. But by the end of his Reception year, things had gone from bad to worse. Harry would only read now when forced, and even then it was only the long and unusual words that he was willing to tackle. He was side-stepping common words like ‘come’ and ‘when’ and yet could read a word like ‘photosynthesis’ with great ease. It just didn’t make sense!

During year 1 Susie was surprised and pleased to discover that Harry did make some progress with his reading. However, the fact that he only had to look at a long and complex word once in order to know it by heart still seemed strange to her. By year 2 it was clear that Harry was reading solely through memorization of whole words, and at 7 years old he was totally unable to identify a word by its sounds. Every time he came across a new word he either broke down into tears or became passionately angry, refusing to read anything.

Harry was waging a war against reading, homework and school – and for Susie it was a horrible sight to see. At this stage the school began to express their concerns too, since despite being bright and able in other areas, Harry’s difficulties with reading and writing were causing him to fall behind in all his subjects. Then, in August 2012 Harry was diagnosed as being dyslexic. Susie now knew that if she wanted to change things for her son, it had to happen soon, and it had to come from her.

They started by having a tutor once a week, who, as well as helping Harry with basic word building, shared her suspicions about his visual processing ability. So they saw an optometrist who diagnosed severe Irlen Syndrome and gave Harry a prescription for glasses that instantly made a difference.

The family felt hopeful for the first time; surely now that the words were no longer jumping around on the page they could solve the puzzle! However, despite being much happier with looking at a page of text he still point blank refused to read anything on it – even in a comic. And so the homework battles waged on. It was clear that Harry needed something more…

The Solution

Susie came across Easyread during an anxious late night search online. As she read through the list of causes for reading difficulty, it seemed that every single one applied to her son. It was like it had been written for him! The fact that the program was on the computer was instantly a plus for book-weary Harry, so they tried the free session and he loved it. So much so that the following day he asked if he could do it again!

From Susie’s point of view the unlimited coaching and support was the big selling point. She had spent so long single-handedly worrying, trying and failing to help Harry that the thought of having someone there to lend an ear was a real lifeline.

It became evident after just a few days that Easyread really was an apt name for the course; Harry enjoyed it so much that every day he wanted to do more, and this boosted his confidence hugely. The games and stories contained the perfect recipe for laughter – a little bit rude with some interesting themes and a bit of silliness – delicious! Since the lessons were so short, it became a positive part of their morning routine and not at all a chore. Plus, whenever Harry needed a boost – lo and behold an awesome prize arrived through the letterbox, and he was raring to go once more! This new routine of success and smiles was a breath of fresh air for mother and son.

What’s more, the support from the Easyread team was every bit as fabulous as Susie had hoped it would be. Whenever she called or emailed the response was detailed, expert and speedy. Susie and her son were no longer engaged in endless combat; Harry and David Morgan were running this show, and she was just along for the ride!

The Result

At the start of the school term in September of last year, Harry was a boy who loved looking at books, but hated to read. 4 months after starting Easyread, the Jack Stalwart Series was at the top of his Christmas list!  The confidence he was gaining was infectious, and made its way into every part of his life very quickly.

For Susie, it’s as if he is opening new doors everyday – he will now read anything and everything in the world around him whether it be BBC children’s news programmes, maths homework or a cereal box.

The fact that the team offered additional practical therapies for Harry’s Irlen Syndrome also means that they can deal with this longer term with understanding and expertise.

The school meanwhile have happily moved Harry up a reading group, and his tutor is astonished by the change, having observed that Harry’s fluency, pace and energy levels are much higher compared with this time last year.

Put simply: day to day life has been transformed for Harry and Susie since they began this course, and that’s something that no one can put a price tag on.


Laura O’Sullivan is a System Coach for the Easyread System, an online phonics course for children who need support for spelling and reading problems. Over a decade, Easyread has helped children with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, highly visual learning styles, and more, to reach their full reading potential. Find out more at or