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From losing streak to winning streak: last year 10 year old Nathan was unable to decode even single words. After a few months of using The Easyread System, he is happily reading entire chapters!

The Problem

Nathan had always been a shy child, and so starting school was inevitably difficult for him. His natural coyness wasn’t helped by the fact that he was also a summer-born child and therefore up to 11 months younger than some of his classmates. By the end of year 1 however, Nathan’s mother Caroline was happy to see that he seemed to be progressing well with his subjects, friendships and general school life.

From the start of Primary 2 onwards however, the tables decidedly turned…

Not long after the start of the new term Nathan’s teacher expressed concerns about his ability to understand what was going on during lessons. Not long after this, Caroline began to have concerns of her own, specifically with regards to her son’s reading. Nathan wasn’t interested in reading any books at home and instantly became upset or stressed if he had to read for homework. Caroline strongly suspected that his difficulties in the classroom were connected to the struggles they were facing at home with his reading, but she had no idea how or why.

So, they struggled on in this way for the next couple of years, during which time Nathan made zero progress with his reading and writing. When he reached Year 4 the school decided to have him assessed. The results confirmed that due to dyslexic tendencies, Nathan was likely to struggle to follow information that was presented to him in a classroom setting. To an extent, this could be managed at a practical level by providing him with extra support with his class work. What worried Caroline the most was the extent of her son’s abilities, and his state of mind, when it came to reading itself. By this stage he was reading at the level of a 7 year old with a chronological age of 9 and Nathan’s feelings towards reading were very negatively charged.

In an effort to break this spiteful cycle, Caroline substantially upped the amount of reading they were doing with Nathan at home. Being a big fan of non-fiction, they started with the Ladybird series ‘Peter and Jane’. They then proceeded to buy numerous fact files, science books etc. During this time they saw a spurt in his confidence with books, but that was all. Caroline could see that as well as having something that engaged him, they needed a technique that would approach decoding from a side angle. At 10 years old he was quite often dumbstruck by the prospect of reading even a single sentence; conventional methods had failed him utterly.

It was during a chat with a friend about their quest to find that elusive ‘something else’ that Caroline first heard about Easyread. She listened as Clare described the success she had seen with using the system for her son and daughter – both of whom had been floundering a year ago and were now achieving great results. Such a definitive personal testament had Caroline signing up the second she got home and sat down at the computer!

The Solution

After just 2 weeks of daily lessons, Nathan was able to decode and read small sentences. The games and Trainertext characters combined to make for both a fun and a highly beneficial learning environment, which is exactly what Caroline had been praying for! Nathan was reading and having fun for the first time in his life. Decoding during his Easyread lesson became commonplace even each day. They were well and truly finished with the ‘siege against words’ that they had experienced before. What’s more, the vocabulary in the stories and the nature of the games suited his age and interests down to the ground, and so this spurred him on even more.

As the weeks went by and the lessons and prizes continued to come in, the drip, drip, drip of reading enthusiasm soon turned into a flood! His confidence at school was progressing in line with this too, and reading meanwhile, turned into something that he just couldn’t get enough of!

Caroline will always remember the day that he sat down and read an entire chapter of a book; an event which she had never dared to hope was possible. He only got stuck on three words overall and the entire 10 pages took him no more than 10 minutes to complete. His fluency was impeccable as well; but most of all, the smile on Nathan’s face when he had finished told the story of what this meant to him. Caroline is certain that Easyread is to thank for that wonderful experience.

The Result

Nathan’s joy of reading and general progress is, brilliantly enough, still a work in progress!

With just over a month left to go on the course, his reading level is now at 10 years and 3 months-that’s an increase of 3 years and 3 months compared with where he was before he started the course! Caroline can see that the more of the Easyread system he completes, the more confident he will become and the more equipped he will be to begin senior school. To contemplate how ill-equipped Nathan was last year compared with now leaves her speechless.

Laura O’Sullivan is a Reading Specialist for the Easyread System, an online course that helps children with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, poor memory, and more.