Not all students learn to read the same. Many students need to learn to read using a different approach than what may be provided at school. The majority of states across the US have dyslexia laws in place and are making instructional changes to meet the needs of all students, including dyslexics, while (few) other states still have quite a ways to go with making these changes. Without adequate instruction and support, students with dyslexia may find themselves really struggling.
To see the 2018 report on the status of current dyslexia laws across the United States, click **here!**
Dyslexia is diagnosed to those who have difficulty reading despite normal intelligence and educational instruction. If you are unfamiliar with dyslexia or are just starting to tap into the research, it may be more common than you think. According to the International Dyslexia Association, “perhaps as many as 15–20% of the population as a whole—have some of the symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing, or mixing up similar words.”
Individuals with dyslexia significantly benefit from being taught how to read and spell using direct, systematic and multisensory instruction. It is important that the provider of this instruction is using a program that is evidence-based and backed by the science of teaching reading. Programs that use the Orton-Gillingham method work wonders.
In today’s success story, we share Emery’s journey, provided by her mother Hilary. Emery’s trajectory was changed with the inclusion of a program that taught her how to read in the way she requires to be taught. Nothing but hard work, drive, and determination from this girl then and now! Please enjoy her story below.
What led you to seek out help for your child and who recommended you?
Emery was diagnosed as dyslexic by an outside educational evaluation and Brainspring was recommended by her psychologist as a learning center that provides evidence-based Orton-Gillingham instruction. We were lucky enough to be right around the corner from Brainspring’s learning center in Clarkston, Michigan and even luckier to have Ms. Stephanie, the Center Director of the Clarkston center, as Emery’s tutor. When Emery started tutoring at Brainspring she was in the third grade and really struggling. According to her testing, she was in the bottom two percent of readers her age. She was also struggling with low self-esteem and anxiety that was manifesting in physical ways. We were at a very low point.
Before starting with her tutor, Emery was given an assessment which would determine where to begin instruction at Brainspring. At this point, she could identify basic sounds with 72% accuracy. She could read familiar and unfamiliar CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words with 60% accuracy, and spell CVC words with 57% accuracy.
Shortly after starting tutoring, what changes did you see in your child?
It didn’t take long before I recognized that Brainspring was special. Emery would happily go to tutoring, even after long and frustrating days at school. Ms. Stephanie always welcomed her with great enthusiasm and made each tutoring session fun and engaging. Laughing and giggling could always be heard through the door as they were working and if Emery became apprehensive or anxious, her tutor would gently reassure her while continuing to push her forward. It wasn’t long before Emery started making great progress in her reading. I could tell that her progress was attributed to Brainspring because she could easily recall the skills and apply the strategies that she was being taught by her tutor. She was strengthening her fluency and reading was becoming less tedious.
Emery built her foundational skills and gradually added new skills on when ready. Her tutor always worked at her pace, allowing for review of skills when necessary. Emery completed the final level of Brainspring’s Phonics First® program reading at about a 5th-grade reading level. She read with around 88% accuracy and spelled at almost 100% accuracy! Emery continues to strengthen her reading and will begin focusing on morphology in the summer of 2019. Understanding larger units of meaning that heavily comprise the English language will only strengthen her reading and spelling, not to mention her vocabulary!
What does Emery appreciate most about her reading instruction at Brainspring?
It’s really hard to put into words what Brainspring has done for Emery and our family. She went from being an anxious and sad little girl who cried more than she smiled, to a young lady with an engaging personality who lights up the room. She is well aware of her dyslexia now, she knows her strengths, and embraces her weaknesses. Emery self-advocates for her accommodations and is reading at grade level. Every day I am thankful for that recommendation from our psychologist and especially for the expertise of Ms. Stephanie to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude!
A little more on Emery …
Emery loves playing volleyball. She’s the setter for her 13u team as well as the team captain. She’s a joy to watch not only for her volleyball skill but because she is always encouraging to others who may be having a tough day.
Written by Brainspring