Brainspring Student Success Story: Brittany and Olivia

Posted by Brainspring on 12th Sep 2019

Reading comes easy for some, not all. The key for struggling readers is to find what works. According to the National Reading Panel, about 60% of students do not require a specific reading method or program to learn how to read. These are the students that can grasp reading and spelling, regardless of the particular programs that are utilized at school. The remaining 40% of students, however, do not experience the same success in reading if they are not consistently provided the instruction that allows them to be successful.

Interestingly, a strategy that works for struggling readers can also benefit non-struggling readers. This strategy is called the Orton-Gillingham method, which utilizes multisensory strategies while teaching reading in a structured, phonics-based approach.

This week, the parents of Brittany and Olivia share the success story of their daughters, also known as, a couple of determined and hard working sisters who prevailed alongside their tutor at Brainspring Learning Center, in Shelby Township, Michigan. We hope you enjoy their story as much as we do!

Brittany and Olivia’s Journey

What lead you to seek out help for your child and who recommended you?

We noticed that Brittany and Olivia were struggling readers, and both had poor NWEA reading scores. Brittany was entering fourth grade in the fall and we knew this was about the time where students begin reading to learn, with less focus on learning to read. Olivia was entering second grade in the fall and our intentions were to provide her additional supports in the process of learning to read. A friend of ours recommended we try Brainspring’s Phonics First program, which is an accredited Orton-Gillingham based program. We decided to give it a try.

Prior to beginning instruction, Brittany was assessed to obtain a baseline and starting point for instruction. At the time of the assessment, Brittany read basic sounds with 84% accuracy. She read phonetic consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words with 77% accuracy, and spelled them with 64% accuracy. The reading list of pseudo CVC words was discontinued at the time (due to consecutive errors).

Olivia’s pre-assessment showed that she was able to recall about 66% of basic sounds. Reading and spelling CVC words was challenging and it was determined she would begin instruction in mastering single consonants, short vowels, and consonant digraphs, which are the building blocks of the basic CVC words.

What changes did you see in your child’s reading and spelling?

Brittany picked up the skills and strategies relatively fast and was able to close her reading gap over a two-year period. During that time, Brittany became an avid reader. The summer prior to sixth grade she took a strong interest in her writing and has constantly improved. Olivia had a different set of challenges, however, she also closed her reading gap. During sixth grade, Olivia gained an interest in reading fiction books. The biggest challenge both girls had with reading and spelling was taking their time.  The more time they were willing to put into their reading/spelling, the more accurate it became.

After the implementation of Phonics First, the progress was evident. Both girls now mastered reading and spelling CVC words with nearly 100% accuracy. After building this key foundation, they moved upwards in their personalized programs, acquiring new sounds and concepts via explicit, multisensory and phonics based instruction. 

Prior to Phonics First, Brittany was reading multi-syllable words of varying complexity with about 32% accuracy and spelling beyond basic CVC words with about 36% accuracy. Olivia discontinued the reading and spelling pre-assessments (due to consecutive errors). At the completion of the program, both girls’ post-assessment data showed their reading and spelling scores bumped up to accuracy levels in the high 90’s. 

One of the biggest changes we have seen in both of our daughters is their boost in confidence. They have both grown to enjoy reading. Brittany’s confidence has increased immensely! She is now enrolled in advanced English classes. Olivia has become confident in her abilities to read challenging text. She now attends Brainspring to fine-tune her writing skills.

What do you or your child appreciate most about Brainspring?

Alongside our daughter’s academic gains, we appreciate the openness and welcoming feeling the Brainspring staff exemplifies. All of our tutors and directors (Kim, Michelle, Marilyn and more) feel like an extension of our family. We are always greeted with a smile and everyone demonstrates a genuine interest in our family.

A little more on Brittany and Olivia …

Outside of school (and Brainspring), Brittany loves music and playing any instrument she can get her hands on. Olivia likes to play basketball and roller skate.




Written by Brainspring