Amazed with Aidan’s Progress

The reading skills of children with dyslexia will greatly improve when they get the right type of instruction, as this parent shares:  

I am a homeschooling mother of six, and I have been tutoring my ten-year-old fourth grader Aidan for two years now using your program. We are currently on Level 6, Lesson 12.

Aiden

Last month, my children and I met with our Florida Certified Home School Evaluator. She is both a Florida teacher and home schooling mom as well. She has been evaluating Aidan and my other children over the past three years for our annual evaluation due to the county.

She was so amazed with Aidan’s progress. She asked him to read from her testing materials, and he read and comprehended all questions asked of him for grades 4, 5, 6, and 7. She believed he could probably have continued reading through eighth grade and above as well!

As I sat listening to him, I was brought to tears.

When we started two years ago, Aidan was the one in tears, and I was at a loss of how to approach his needs.

Aidan is now able to read all assigned book report books for his Seton Home Study School Curriculum, and he is independently reading all instructions and lessons in his workbooks on his own

I must admit that when I read the reviews on your website and ordered my first level of materials, I was skeptical. Now that I have taught the Barton System and have seen my son excel using your system, I have been recommending it to other home schooling mothers who have children with dyslexia.

You have truly created a program that works! I guess the best way to describe my overall experience is that I feel like my child was deaf or blind and can now hear or see.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Mary Beth Cyr
Milton, FL

Susan Barton has a free 30-minute video with advice for homeschool parents using the Barton System.  To watch it, click here.

Adult who regrets being promoted

Emails from adults often break my heart.  We need to help them earlier — to prevent this.  

I found your website last night and wanted to cry.

I’m 45 years old and have suffered with spelling and reading my whole life.

In third grade, I stopped doing homework and just stuffed the sheets in my desk to avoid not knowing how to do it.

I had difficulty with multiplication although I really wanted to learn it. I marveled at the kids who just got it. Telling time was tough, too. I remember my parents bribing me with a calculator and a watch if I could just learn to do my multiplication tables and to tell time.

AdultRegretsPromotion

In fourth grade, I struggled to the point that they had me tested for all kinds of things. My spelling especially was a problem. But they didn’t really find anything except that I am really good at 3-D thinking and spatial relationships.

They decided it would be best if I just repeated the year. They thought my maturity and confidence would grow if I repeated. My parents also made me read out loud for 30 minutes every day.

This was really tough, but I eventually improved enough not to draw negative attention. I was just really slow, and I had to work really hard to get it or understand it.

Yet even now, I can’t watch movies with subtitles because I can’t read quick enough to get through the entire message before the next one flashes on the screen.

I still have trouble with hand writing words with d’s or b’s or p’s or q’s. They often face the wrong way.

After looking at your website and watching your videos, I see a similarity to some of the traits of dyslexic people.

Although I’ve been in Sales the last 10 years and have won awards, my promotion into Marketing has been a disaster. I’m expected to write things rather than rely on my face-to-face people skills. My managers think I’m lazy or stupid, and I’m struggling to show them my strengths.

I need to be tested for dyslexia to find out if there is a way to improve my writing, reading and spelling. My company wants me to take a business writing course, but I think I might need different help first.

I’ve always had a very strong drive to do well and to learn. It is heartbreaking to me to want to do well and try so hard – but not be successful.

Can you help me?

Best thing I have ever done

Jake wrote this as an assignment during his senior year of high school. Both Jake and his mom have given me permission to share this in the hopes that it will inspire other struggling students.  

The best thing I have ever done
By Jake Pedersen

I was diagnosed with dyslexia right before I entered seventh grade. I was told that my best option was to go to a reading specialist three times a week for roughly three years.

As a stubborn young kid, I imagined that the tutoring would be a waste of time and that I could get along fine without it.

But as my other classmates continued to thrive in the rigorous middle school I attended, I was stuck being able to only read at about a third grade level.

In seventh grade, I was the slowest reader in my class, and I could not comprehend what I was reading. I knew that something had to change.

Jake

As much as I thought that tutoring might be a waste of time, I decided that I should just bite the bullet and go because that was what I needed to do to be able to keep improving in school.

Now that I’m about to graduate from High School, I realize that all of the activities, games, and time with friends I missed to go to tutoring, don’t compare to what I have received from it.

Those three years of work were the best thing I’ve ever done. They helped me get to the point where I am one of the better readers in the class and can keep up with everyone else.

It isn’t always easy to do something that seems like a lot of work, but in the long run, it can open up a million different possibilities.

Jake Pedersen
A Barton Reading & Spelling System Graduate

Why I Homeschool

Dear Susan,

Words cannot express my gratitude for all you do for children with dyslexia.

I contacted you last fall when I was having difficulties with my two children in school. Your patience, gentleness and compassion gave me the hope that my children would be OK, and you gave me the courage to take their education into my own hands.

Levi and Abigail - small image

I read everything I could on your website, all of your links, your newsletters, and everything everyone posted. I came to realize that my children would not reach their full potential in a traditional school environment until after they completed the Barton System.

So my husband and I purchased a 20’ x 12’ shed with a loft. We turned it into a one room school house, where I spend every day educating 2 of my 4 children. We use the same curriculum that the school they previously attended uses, plus 45 minutes of individual Barton tutoring, 5 days a week.

The day we brought our children home, we made this video for our own personal benefit. I had watched and loved “Sophia’s Fight Song,” and I wanted my children to have a video like that of their own.

The progress they have made in just 7 months is truly astonishing! So today, we made a second video. If you watch them both, the progress they’ve made is undeniable.

I have NO regrets on taking your advice to do it myself at home. I have NO regrets for deciding to home school, and I have NO regrets that a 20’ x 12’ shed is sitting in my backyard instead of the built-in pool we had been saving for.

We have time again to laugh, play, and have fun! We had lost that for a little while to tears, arguments, and the frustration of (not) learning while trying to complete endless worksheets that did not make sense.

My husband and I thank you, my children thank you, and I know we are just one of many families who have been blessed by you.

Kimm Pasmore, Homeschool Parent
Spring Hill, FL

P.S. I never intended to show these videos to anyone outside of family. But so many friends have asked about my children and their progress, and  I felt like they did not believe me when I told them how far my kids have come.  So now I show them these two videos, and they can see it for themselves.

A Third Grade Teacher’s Point of View

By Sally Miles
Shared with prior written permission

As a teacher, dyslexia therapist (ALTA), mother and grandmother of two brilliant dyslexics, and someone who loves learning, I do my best every day to meet the needs of my students in my 3rd grade class. I fail every day, but we forgive and move on.

TeachersPointOfView

I do my best to address teaching in an Orton-Gillingham based manner for every subject. Not every student I have is dyslexic, but every child can benefit.

My students have so many needs that even though I truly put forth the effort, my brain and my heart cannot possibly think of everything that every child needs during every moment of every day. Among the children I greet every morning are those diagnosed and undiagnosed dyslexic children, a hearing impaired child with cerebral palsy, diagnosed and undiagnosed children with ADHD, auditory processing disorders, language disorders and autism, English as a second language, children who go to bed unfed since they left school, children who are abused, and children who are neglected.

Even though I try to meet every single need of your child, I’m going to fail. So before you call me out on Facebook, talk to me! Tell me, in a kind way, what your child needs that I am not doing.

Remember, the things your child needs that I’m trying to do . . . may be met with resistance by other parents because I teach in a way that is different, or their child may have very different needs.

Remember that I am human and may forget simply because I have so many different needs swirling through my head.

Remember that my goal is to teach all of your children, every day, with the “right” way for your child, and I will fail. I will get up again the next day and try to do better.

But it is easier if you tell me what your child needs . . . rather than think I’m too ignorant, I don’t care, I’m lazy, or I’m just another part of an often-broken system.

The importance of early intervention

If you have ever watched one of your own children struggle for years in school due to undetected dyslexia, you will step in faster when your next child starts to struggle – as this parent did.

Our story is so similar to other families I have met: the daily homework struggles, tears of frustration over a worksheet that takes other kids only a few minutes to complete, “wait and see” advice from some teachers, and “your daughter is too smart to be dyslexic” from others. I have never felt so helpless.

But when Lillian was in second grade, we were so lucky to have a teacher who pulled me aside and recommended we go outside of the school system to get a private evaluation, and lucky that the evaluator recommended the Barton Reading & Spelling System.

When we started the Barton System, Lillian was in the spring of second grade, reading at a beginning first grade level. We worked very hard to close the gap, tutoring 30 minutes every day (and increased it to an hour a day during the summer).

Sorenson

When Lillian took her state reading test in the spring of third grade, she scored in the “meets grade level” category – only 4 points away from “exceeds.”

Now, after her second year of tutoring, she is able to read books at her interest level, and we often catch her reading just for fun – which means more to us than any test result. The growth we have seen in her confidence and self-esteem is priceless.

I have also benefited from your program. It is so empowering to finally be able to understand how to help my kids learn to read, and to speak knowledgeably with their teachers.

But more importantly, I was able to avoid struggle and failure with my younger son Nate, who was 5 1/2 when we had his sister evaluated. Nate had almost every early warning sign for dyslexia. So I started working with him at that time (in shorter sessions), and he has learned to read solely through the Barton System. We had him privately evaluated at the beginning of his first grade year, and Nate was reading at a mid-second grade level!

Nate is a poster-child for the importance of early intervention. I recently spoke about my experience tutoring my own kids when I testified before the Oregon Senate Committee on Education in support of our dyslexia bill.

Thank you again for creating such an accessible, affordable program, and for being so helpful and available when I had questions. My kids now have a limitless future, and your program allowed me to give it to them. We are so incredibly grateful.

Theresa Sorensen
Happy Valley, OR

Homeschooling takes a lot of courage

It takes a lot of courage to pull your child out of public school and start homeschooling. And it requires a lot of work. But most parents of children with dyslexia will tell you that homeschooling was the best thing they ever did.

This homeschool parent’s story is so typical.

Susan, I just have to share what that my son’s (homeschool) teacher posted today. We are on Level 4 of the Barton Reading & Spelling System. He is in 4th grade.

Last year, in public school, he hit the “brick wall” and cried every day. He hated school. He hated the fact that his little sister could read better than he could. His self-esteem was nonexistent. The school refused to do ANYTHING even though we had a diagnosis of dyslexia.

So this year, in an effort to salvage whatever self-worth he had left, we decided to homeschool.

Today, I received this email from his homeschool teacher. THIS is what happens when you use EVIDENCE BASED methods that are proven to work with a dyslexic child!

Subject: Music to my ears

My son: I’m going to have to read all the way home because I want to know what is going to happen next. Can I just read it now?

Teacher: No, that’s homework.

My son: But I want to know now.

Bighinati

This is coming from a boy who has NEVER enjoyed reading in his life because of dyslexia and the use of ineffective reading methods in the past. Now he can’t put his book down. Proud teacher moment!

Susan, thank you for everything you do to help our kids, and to educate us and guide us in advocating for them along this rocky journey. You are an angel to many.

Cindi Bighinati
Homeschool parent in CT

Special Ed Teachers Can Also Be Heroes

I recently received this heartwarming email from a Special Ed teacher, who is also one of my heroes.  

I am having amazing success using the Barton System in my resource room.

A young man transferred to my school at the beginning of 7th grade, barely able to read at a second grade level. He absolutely hated school and was often absent.

His parents had tried everything. They had spent thousands of dollars sending him to Sylvan and to private tutors.

They heard about the success I was having with the Barton Reading & Spelling System. After his school refused to get the Barton System, they fought for 2 years to get an inter-district transfer so he could attend my school and work with me.

Success-Linari

He is about to graduate from 8th grade with excellent grades, perfect attendance, and is now reading at a 7th grade level. He was even elected by his peers to be their Student Body President.

Yet there is no one at the high school he will attend next year who teaches the Barton System. So a group of my students (who are now in the higher levels of the Barton System) are determined to start a Barton tutoring program there – and they have volunteered to be the tutors.

Geri Linari, Special Ed Teacher
Cuddleback Elementary
Fortuna, CA

Support Our Dyslexia Bill

Andrew has profound dyslexia.  

He first wrote his letter of support for California’s dyslexia bill, AB1369, by hand. Then he dictated it into the computer.

Not only is his letter touching, but it proves why technology tools are just as important as tutoring. Here is his dictated letter.

Dear Assembly Member Shannon Grove,

Hi! This is Andrew and I have Dyslexia and Dysgraphia and I am in 5th grade. I am 11 years old.

Dyslexia is a one in five have it. Dyslexia makes it really hard for kids to read and write very well. Dyslexia is not recognized in the public schools and kids are feeling stupid and not very smart or happy.

Andrew Handwriting

I know how they feel because I am going through it now. My mom and dad took me to a therapist who said I have dyslexia and dysgraphia. Dyslexia happens in families. My uncle and dad never knew that they had it.

There are times in life when I feel I’m not the smartest kid in my class because I can’t read like the other kids. It is like, I am two grades behind. Sometimes I give up and cry but my family, teachers, and Barton tutor help me keep going.

Mrs. Grove, you can help kids like me learn to read and write by voting yes on AB1369. AB1369 can give kids like me in California the chance to do great things in their classrooms and in life.

Please vote yes on AB1369. We need your help to make this happen!

From
Andrew

The photo in this article is his handwritten version.

Slow and steady wins the race

Slow and steady wins the race — and school testing proves it. 

I love getting success stories from Barton tutors — like this one.

One of my students did not talk until he was 4 years old, had speech therapy for years starting in preschool, had been in special education since Kindergarten, and was even retained once.

When I met him at the end of 8th grade, the special education teachers had just told his parents that they had tried all they could, but he was still unable to read even the most decodable first grade words.

This student is probably my most severely dyslexic student, but also the most motivated. He has worked SO hard and has even driven to my house for a lesson when school has been cancelled due to snow.

We have made slow but steady progress.

He is a senior in high school now and just finished Level 8.

SlowbutSteady

I got a text from him today that included a picture he had taken of his computer screen at school (see above) showing a graph of his progress on a school reading test – which is used to determine if a reading class is needed or not. Students need 1000 points in order to get out of the reading class and be freed up to take an elective.

His first score, 213, was from September 9, 2013. His last score, 1040, is from today, March 17, 2015.

I am just so proud of him and had to share the good news!

Karin Merkle
Certified Barton Tutor at the Advanced Level
Rapid City Dyslexia Care
Rapid City, SD

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