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From tears of despair to tears of joy…Easyread was the key that unlocked Louisa’s reading and writing potential.

The Problem

When Louisa started school age 6 it was instantly clear that her spelling was poor compared to other children her age. By the end of the school year it had deteriorated so much that her father Kagema, himself a teacher, could only assume that the fault lay with her schooling. The daughter he knew was bright and energetic – it just didn’t make sense.

So in an effort to smooth over what had been a wholly negative early experience, Louisa repeated her first year of education at a different school. Yet another year went by and as far as writing was concerned; they saw no improvement. In fact things were actually getting worse. Not only was she reversing letters (such as b and d); but she was now reversing certain numbers as well. She desperately needed concentrated spelling help to turn things around.

When her father voiced his concerns to the teacher he was advised that Louisa would most likely outgrow the problem. In many ways Kagema agreed. After all, Louisa’s appalling spelling was an anomaly. As such, they resolved to spend their time focusing on her other studies and so for the next few years things weren’t good, but they were OK.

Then in 2010 the family was uprooted to South Africa. It was during a rigorous entrance exam for a place at Louisa’s new boarding school that her spelling demons came back to haunt her. The Headteacher questioned Kagema about the reason for his daughter’s atrocious spelling. He explained that there was no problem he was aware of – which of course was true.

By the skin of her teeth Louisa got in; but only on the basis of what the school perceived as her “potential”. After all, her spoken English was excellent and although she wasn’t an enthusiastic reader, she was reading at the same level as an average 12-year-old. The school prescribed that simply reading more would remedy to her problem.

As such, father and daughter committed themselves to a strict daily reading regime during the summer of that year. But it wasn’t long before Kagema noticed some very odd reading problems when they read together. Louisa was routinely making surprising mistakes with simple words. It was almost as if she was guessing. This in turn led to frustration, at which point her guessing would start to spiral out of control. The more they read, the more frustrated she became.

For the first time, Kagema understood that Louisa’s spelling problems were rooted in the way that she was reading. Still at a loss as to what any of this meant, they carried on in hopes that the daily reading had helped.

Before long, Louisa was finishing school in floods of tears. Now not only was her writing deteriorating but her reading was too. For her father; this was the last straw. If the school wasn’t going to help then he would just have to do it himself.

Choosing a Solution

It was whilst doing some research online that Kagema came across the Easyread System. As he read through the information on the 7 causes of reading difficulty, he couldn’t quite believe his eyes. It was like his daughter was being described for him; Optilexia and the stress spiral were perfect explanations of Louisa’s difficulties!

Together, they had a go at the Spellmagic lesson, and the two were instantly crying…but this time they were tears of laughter! The Ants in Pink Pants, the Bear with Long Hair: what fun! Kagema started to feel excited about his daughter’s future like never before. They signed up then and there.

Despite the fact that the program was taking things back to basics with learning the phonemes and sounding out letters, Louisa didn’t once complain. After 15 minutes she knew the lesson would be finished, and this really spurred her on. The positive language in each lesson, fun games and engaging graphics and prizes that were sent in the post further consolidated her passion for the lessons. Kagema was stunned by her dedication and motivation.

Before long, she was proudly taking ownership of every lesson she did. For the first time in her life, she felt empowered by her ability to read, interpret and enjoy words.

The Results

Prior to Easyread, Louisa’s reading and spelling were 24 months below average. After 8 months on the Easyread course, she had improved by no less than 21 months and continued to improve all the time. She is now working at the same level as her peers with both reading and writing.

And that’s not all; aside from the obvious improvement in her literacy levels, the all-round confidence and enthusiasm that Kagema now sees in Louisa is, as he describes; “amazing”. After more than 6 years of frustration and mystification, father and daughter feel safe in the knowledge that things can only get better from now on.


Laura O’Sullivan is a Program Coach for the Easyread, an online phonics course specifically developed for kids with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and highly visual learning styles who need support for spelling and reading problems. Find out more at or on Facebook at