Mum Belinda knew all too well the suffering her dyslexic son was experiencing. But just when they thought they had asked all possible questions, Easyread provided the answer they never expected or dreamed of…

The Problem

Cameron was a late talker, being almost 3 by the time he started articulating full sentences. And yet from day one it was clear that he was a very bright and inquisitive child. He was always active too; he’d walked at nine months old.

At pre-school nursery Cameron was keen and able to learn the alphabet. He then went on to successfully identify all his letters by the time he started reception. Mum Belinda, who had some haunting memories of learning to read as a child, was relieved to see that her son was learning at the desired pace for a typical child of his age.

Towards the end of reception year however, things changed almost inexplicably. Belinda began to notice that Cameron wasn’t managing to memorise any words after more than a day. Also, words like “was” he would spell, read or write as “saw”, and he was unable to distinguish correctly between a “b” and “d” when reading.  Before long he was guessing at every word and getting roughly 50% of them wrong.

Cameron was doing well in other subjects such as Mathematics, but as far as reading progress was concerned it was as if he had reached the ceiling and just couldn’t push beyond it. Belinda could tell this was not down to a lack of effort on Cameron’s part either. And what’s more, she knew exactly how he felt, because she had experienced exactly the same thing!

Cameron and Belinda had always read a bedtime story, but pretty soon mum couldn’t help but notice that they were always circling around the same books from the same level. Then midway through year 1, Cameron started to actively hate it, and mum and dad had a real struggle on their hands to even get Cameron to try and read a page of a story he knew extremely well.

Cameron’s was able to read and write, but he was working at a very basic level. He was more than a year behind his classmates, and worst of all he had started to notice, which was now dramatically affecting his self-confidence.

One day Cameron came home from school and with tears in his eyes identified himself as being “rubbish”. From that moment forward Belinda knew they needed to do something. And yet, at a small Prep school, the understanding and funding needed to support the problem simply wasn’t available. The school agreed to lower their expectations for Cameron’s homework, but as the demand grew for more independent work in class, Belinda could do no more than watch on as her son’s self-confidence spiralled out of control.

By the end of Year 2 in July 2012, the Headmistress called Cameron’s parents in for a meeting. She started by saying that she agreed something was very wrong with Cameron’s reading. An exasperated Belinda nodded her head eagerly, and waited for the long-awaited suggestion that they change the method of teaching being used.  But that suggestion never came. Instead, she recommended Cameron would benefit from a psychological assessment, which unsurprisingly, confirmed that Cameron was mildly dyslexic. At the time of the assessment, Cameron had a reading level of 3%, 47% below the state school average.

So what now?

The school arranged one to one tuition for Cameron, which didn’t seem to help at all. The build-up to each session was always exactly the same; Cameron would get stressed out, then angry, then upset and therefore totally in the wrong state of mind to achieve anything. It was a vicious circle.

Belinda was pleased that they finally had this diagnosis under their belts, and yet just when they needed a change of direction more than ever before, everything was being approached in exactly the same way. She was also keen that the school not lose sight of the fact that despite his setbacks, her son had clear strengths. For one thing he was incredibly visual, with a fantastic memory for anything he saw such as a film or show. Belinda also observed that he could retain long and difficult words better than he could small high frequency words. So things weren’t all bad, right?

It was the start of the summer holidays in 2012 that Belinda locked herself in the study for a solid three days of online research into dyslexia. As ever with the internet, there was a lot of amazing information, but not much at all in the way of practical assistance.

Somewhere along the way she found herself on the Easyread homepage, and instantly it felt as if there was a clear solution to the difficulties she was seeing with her son. As soon as they tried the trial lesson, both Belinda and Cameron felt such relief. The injection of confidence was instant, and just what Cameron needed. Without delay Belinda signed them up.

The Solution

In terms of attitude, the turnaround for Cameron was so immediate that Mum and Dad could hardly believe it! Suddenly their son’s perpetually negative feelings towards reading, and in fact all elements of his school life, had disappeared.

The fact that Cameron only did just 15 minutes a day suited his learning style perfectly. He also found it extremely easy to remember the Trainertext characters, but knowing that they could take it at their own pace if they needed to was reassuring. The games drew Cameron in and he didn’t even realise he was learning. The fun was on, and the pressure was most certainly off!

What’s more, Belinda found that she could learn alongside her son. He felt such a surge of confidence every time he needed to correct a mistake that Mum had made! Outside of the lessons, the guidance the team provided in dealing with his eye-tracking and contrast sensitivity helped his general ability to follow text. After years of half-baked explanations, it felt like they had gained so much from just one source: the Easyread website.

The Result

For Belinda, the results were not an amazing “flash in the pan”, however she did see a steady progress turn into an avalanche of successes. After week six on the course, every day Cameron was building up not just confidence, but more than that, something very subtle was going on in the way he now decoded words. Instead of being sealed objects of terror, books became something fun to look at and open. Classwork improved and all his teachers noted progress throughout year 3. In 8 months, Cameron had progressed by an entire year.

And the fun didn’t stop there! Even now Cameron surprises himself at how well he can read.

A few weeks ago, the 8 year old began at a new state school. On his first day, despite being a little nervous, he actually volunteered to write on the blackboard and read out loud in front of the entire class! As far as Belinda is concerned, her son NEVER would have done this before Easyread.

And as for Belinda…“I would recommend this course to anyone, not just dyslexics. I hope Cameron’s results speak for themselves”. They most certainly do!


Laura O’Sullivan is a System Coach for Easyread, an online phonics course that works with kids with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, highly visual learning styles and more, to provide reading help and spelling help. Easyread’s mission to help a child to read has been running for a decade.