Before Easyread, Lydia’s struggles began early. Teachers noticed her reading difficulty right from the start in kindergarten (age 5). Her mother noticed that all of her peers were already reading, but Lydia just couldn’t grasp it. With a lot of effort she could sound out long words, but she stumbled over short common words. Names were impossible. She did a lot of guessing and couldn’t seem to shake the habit. Her writing was also poor; she mixed up d, b, p, g, and q all the time. One time the teacher showed her mother a card where the whole class had signed their names. Every name was legible except Lydia’s. She had managed an “L”, but after that it fell apart. Some marks didn’t even look like letters at all. At the time she was in an expensive private school, but the teachers there didn’t know what to do with her. They kept advising her parents to work on reading more with her at home. But they were already working on it for long stretches of time every night and it just resulted in tears and fights. At one low point, Lydia told her mother that her friends were smart, but she was one of the “dumb kids”.
Her mother found Easyread on the Internet. Everything else she had read online, until Easyread, was depressing. Things like: “expect a lot of hard work to achieve moderate results”. Or, “look into a trade school for her”. A nationally advertised learning center that charged college tuition prices said that “if [Lydia] worked 8 hours at their center every weekend and every day during school breaks, that maybe she could get to 6 months behind grade level in the next year”.
By contrast, Easyread was so encouraging. It seemed expensive at first because it felt like a leap of faith and her mother did not know if it would really work. In retrospect, it was a bargain! The graphics were engaging and the narrator’s English accent was pleasant and soothing. It was a short, manageable session every day, which worked well for Lydia. Lydia liked it from the start and was never reluctant to sit down and work on it. The program seemed to understand her thought processes in a way everyone else missed. And she finally stopped guessing! Of course it was always very exciting to receive a gift in the mail, too!
After Easyread, things started changing for Lydia pretty quickly. After switching her to public school in 1st grade before Easyread, school tested her at about 13% overall (meaning 87% of her peers scored better than her overall). When she was tested shortly after starting Easyread, it rose to 47%. Over the next year it continued to rise up to 97%! She still was not a big reader for enjoyment, but now she could read. She could read the signs when driving down the street. She could read subtitles when she watched a foreign movie.
5 years after Easyread, things have continued to accelerate from that firm foundation. In 5th grade she was invited to join an advanced group at school that took time out weekly to explore a variety of subjects. In 6th grade she was asked to apply for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IB MYP). She did and she was accepted. It is a very advanced project based program that involves a lot of reading and writing reports. She has made all A’s and B’s (all A’s last semester) and is doing great. And her mother sees something now that she always hoped for: Lydia has novels in her room that she has checked out of the library not just for school but for enjoyment! She still has poor handwriting, and her spelling could be better, but computers help with that. And her attitude towards the few holdover issues that remain is totally transformed. Just the other day, her mother proofread something Lydia wrote, and a “d” was swapped out for a “b”. The tears and panic from 5 years earlier were nowhere to be found. She simply shrugged and changed it! She no longer thinks she is dumb. Her mother says, “I am so glad we found Easyread!”