Jonah started the second grade a very frustrated and hopeless little boy. Although his Accelerated Reader level was 2.0, he was the lowest reader in his class. Jonah goes to a private school and they use a curriculum that is much more challenging than what you will find in a public school classroom. Second grade was such a wake up call because suddenly he was expected to do all of his work, most of which is reading based, on his own and not as a class. At the start of the year, Jonah would bring home work that was half finished and would sometimes admit to copying off of his neighbor because he knew that he wasn’t going to get finished otherwise. Normally a sweet and respectful little boy, he raised his fists and yelled at classmates, his teacher and the librarian numerous times during the first few weeks of school. He was embarrassed, anxiety filled and hopeless. As a parent, I knew he was very intelligent, but I couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t getting it.
Many times in my life I have turned to internet research, and normally I wind up trying to piece together this information and that, drawing conclusions that may or not be correct because I can’t find the exact answer to the question I am asking. However, for the first time ever when I searched, “Why can’t my 7 year old read?” I found an answer that spoke directly to my question when I found the Easy Read website. I even cried when I stumbled upon it because as I read down the list, I thought, “This is Jonah, and this, possibly this, etc.” It was like someone had been following him around and knew exactly what was happening with him. That, as much as anything, convinced me to give it a try. The public schools in our area use a system called “Lexia” and they swear by it. My husband is a public school teacher and had set Jonah up with a Lexia account between his kindergarten and first grade year, and it was nothing but frustrating for him. It may work for a lot of kids, but it wasn’t working for Jonah. It was not speaking to the problem that Jonah was having. It was one more way in which Jonah felt he couldn’t do what everyone else could.
We signed up for Easyread and explained to Jonah that his reading difficulty was because he was so smart that his brain had been trained to use a shortcut that just didn’t work for him long-term and that we were going to re-train his brain to do it in a more effective manner. After lesson 1, Jonah was a whole new kid. It was like he finally had hope, and it was a relief to him that he wasn’t just a big dummy. He began making strides immediately just because he no longer felt so hopeless. His teacher even told us around Halloween that she had never had a student make such huge strides in such a short time. She said she’d had some amazing turn-arounds, but never like Jonah. He was a whole new kid. By Christmas, Jonah had moved up a whole grade level in his Accelerated Reader books, and was in beginning chapter books. Before Spring Break, Jonah was in chapter books on about a 3.5 reading level with about 8,000 words. The week after spring break, he started on books around 3.7 reading level with 28,000 words and no pictures. The AR test? He aced it! I am so proud of him. He has been on the A/B honor roll all year, and his school uses a very difficult grading scale. None of it would have been possible without Easy Read and Jonah’s determination to work hard and stay the course. We cannot say “Thank you” enough.
– J (lesson 216)