Schools rarely say, “We have failed to teach this student properly. We have to find a way to change what we are doing.” The blame is usually on a defect in the child or on parents for neglecting to do the right things. They are quick to send parents to find others for testing and tutoring.
The students I have worked with, and the parents who have taken my course, attest to the fact that there is nothing whatsoever wrong with their children even though they were in serious problems with reading at school.
Children all want to read and to succeed. When they are labelled as deficient, and treated differently than their peers , they are confused and learning sickness can begin. These identified weaknesses become part of their self-talk and I’ve heard many of them say, about the middle of grade one, “I’m dumb. I’m stupid. I hate reading.” None of these are true. They hate themselves for being behind their peers. This builds ditches of despair that can be difficult to overcome. Many high school drop-outs will tell you that their slide began in the early grades!
I have consulted to the parents of three seven-year-olds in the last couple of months. As is usually the problem, they were all ‘hooked on phonics’. In every case these students, who were sounding out every letter when they came to see me, were reading without sounding out within ten minutes when I read with them to demonstrate to their parents how to practice properly. It was magical to watch the transformation in their faces and bodies when they realized that they could read.
Amara’s parents had already contacted a psychologist to do $5,000 worth of testing. Instead, in two hours their daughter was confidently reading with a minimal amount of help. She laughed and skipped around the room. She couldn’t stop hugging me.
Jen, a young mom, recently used Simply Read! my online reading course to quickly turn her six-year-old son who is in French Immersion into a reader in both French and English. Within two weeks he was reading French so well that he volunteered to read out loud in class! She told me that The Making Sense Approach is more valuable for French than English since so many of the letters in French are silent.
Almost everyone, of every age, can read if they learn how to overcome the barriers that too much teaching has put in their minds.