Once dyslexia is identified, and a child gets the right type of help, they can finally reach their potential — as this parent shared:
Susan, I had to share my daughter’s story with you and tell you how much of a life saver you and your programs are.
Prior to starting Kindergarten, we had no idea that McKenna had any issues. She seemed so bright, well-spoken and when I’d read to her at night, she’d take the book and read it back to me, or so I thought.
Once school started, however, it was a different story. I was contacted by her Kindergarten teacher telling me that she was sending McKenna for some extra testing and that she thought McKenna needed therapy for fine motor skills. The Guidance Counselor called me and told me that she didn’t even bother finishing the oral testing because McKenna was just too smart for it and didn’t even understand why McKenna had been sent for it. I figured McKenna was behind due to not going to preschool, being a lefty, and being younger than the other students.
But her struggles continued. We’d work on homework forever, she could never remember her spelling words even though we were constantly showing her flash cards, and forget about the concept of “sounding out words.”
We hired a school teacher as a tutor, and McKenna stayed after school several days a week.
In second grade, McKenna came home and announced that she had enrolled herself in extended day reading classes, and that I’d need to drop her off early twice a week for extra reading help. Despite all that, we’d still work until 9:00 pm on homework. Yet she’d only bring home C’s and D’s — after all that extra work.
I requested a parent teacher conference after EVERY report card, trying to figure out what was going on. All I was told was that I needed to make her read more, read more, read more. I cried after every single report card. They didn’t understand my concern since she was not failing, and she seemed to always “pull it up” by the end of the school year. They had NO idea how hard she was working, just to “pull it up.”
She was doing well in math until she got to third grade when it all became word problems with gigantic words like parallelogram.
In third grade, we added extra days with the tutor to prepare for the dreaded state testing. Based on that one test, they determine if a child is retained or promoted. McKenna was so terrified and had horrible anxiety. The night before the test, this third grader asked me if this test was going to affect her college applications. Then came the dreaded news that she did not pass.
When I gave her the results at home, she immediately ran to her room and locked the door. All I could do from the other side was tell this poor crying child that she was wrong to say that she “is stupid.”
She hated reading, so when she came home telling me about a book that she liked (James and The Giant Peach) I ran right to the book store to buy her a copy. She decided that since she had to attend summer school due to failing the test, that this was the book she was going to read. When she came home from summer school and threw the book away, I was confused. She told me that when the teacher walked by and saw her reading it, the teacher loudly announced, “You know you can’t read that book, so why are you pretending?”
I couldn’t take anymore and decided to research on my own instead of trusting the teachers. I also started discussing things with her pediatrician, which got the ball rolling with some of the testing. After months of testing, we were told she had ADHD with a visual processing disorder. Not really understanding what that meant, I took her to an eye specialist. Everything was normal, of course.
It wasn’t until I found your website and watched your videos and read all the parent accounts that I understood. I was blown away!!! I felt like the stories were being told by me.
I decided to have McKenna tested for dyslexia and reached out to you for testing centers. We found someone to perform the test, and I prepared myself and McKenna as much as possible for the outcome. I was so worried that I was wrong about her having dyslexia and would have to start over. Yet she fit all the descriptions so perfectly, and it felt amazing to be able to put a name on this problem that I’d been trying for years to describe to all her teachers.
I even asked McKenna if she’d be upset if she was diagnosed as dyslexic. Her answer broke my heart. She told me that she would be upset if she did NOT have dyslexia because that would mean she was just stupid.
Her diagnosis came back as dyslexia. We had an answer. Now we needed a plan. Back to your website I headed.
I ordered the first part of the Barton Reading System while also beginning to work with the school on getting interventions into place. That took almost an entire school year, and they did not offer any sort of remedial help that would actually help with teaching a dyslexic how to read. I was so frustrated, but I knew what to expect from my research.
I simply let every teacher know that some of her regular homework would NOT be done because I was substituting that time to tutor McKenna with the Barton Reading System.
Fast forward a couple of years. McKenna has gone from being retained in 3rd grade and hating school, to straight A honor roll in all advanced classes.
And in her 7th grade year, she received an invitation to participate in the Duke University TIP program (Talent Indentification Program) due to some of her high test scores.
McKenna took the ACT in February and got amazing test results. Not only was she awarded by Duke at the state level, but she received an invitation to go to Duke University to receive recognition on the national level.
The irony is that the portion of the ACT that she scored highest at the national level was the reading portion!!!!!! McKenna scored higher than 90% of high school students who took the test and she was only in 7th grade.
I couldn’t be prouder of my little dyslexic wonder kid. She has embraced her dyslexia and is her own greatest advocate at school. I let her direct her IEP meetings for the most part and only offer help when I need clarification.
I cannot thank you enough. I heard your story about your nephew and loved your determination to help him. I can tell you that I understand the desperation you must have felt. I was so lost and desperate until I found BrightSolutions.US. Once I began researching on that site, I couldn’t stop talking to people about it.
I used to cry and tell my husband that school and homework was destroying my relationship with my daughter. I just knew that she hated me because I kept pushing. I simply did not understand what was wrong. I was the mom who told her she wasn’t trying hard enough and that she needed to read more — because that’s what the teachers were telling me.
You’ve helped me help my daughter, and that is such a precious gift. She absolutely knows now that she isn’t “stupid.”
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Christina Vitali, parent
New Port Richey, FL
Parents often discover dyslexia late in their first child. But they catch it earlier in their next child, and early intervention makes such a difference — as this parent shares:
Nate is one of those rare dyslexics who has never had to “prove” his dyslexia through failure. While his older sister was going through the evaluation process, and I was busy reading everything I could get my hands on about dyslexia, I realized my younger son, Nate, had many of the early warning signs you discuss in your videos.
So when I started tutoring my daughter using the Barton System (in the spring of her second grade year), I also started tutoring Nate, who was 5 1/2 at the time and not yet in kindergarten.
Because of your program, from the time he entered elementary school, Nate has always read above grade level.
He has never had to be pulled out from class to go to a “special reading group,” he does not require accommodations, and his teachers consistently remark on his self-confidence and leadership qualities within the classroom setting.
When I meet with our school principal and other teachers to discuss dyslexia, I am proud to be able to point to both of my children as examples of what appropriate intervention can achieve.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being able to learn how to tutor my own kids, on our own schedule, for a fraction of the cost of private tutoring for two children.
I am proud that I taught my children to read, and I continue to use the skills I learned when we read together.
Happy Valley, OR
This parent got Barton tutoring for her son in kindergarten — and it quickly healed his emotional scars.
Susan, I heard you speak about dyslexia in Appleton when my son was 5.
At the beginning of kindergarten, he was already saying that he hated himself because he was stupid — because he couldn’t read like the other kids. I was shocked to hear him say it with such strong emotion at that young age.
He’s now had a year of Barton tutoring at the Dyslexia Reading Connection Center.
If only if you could have been a fly on the wall at his last parent-teacher conference. He’s starting to read and is proud of what he’s accomplishing. He’s happy, confident, and a leader in his Montessori classroom.
And best of all, he WANTS to learn. That spark was not extinguished.
We are amazed and so deeply grateful for his progress.
Things are going really well, and I believe he’s going to continue having the school experience every child so deserves — where they feel safe and accepted, even if they learn differently.
And I’m so grateful to you for dedicating your life to dyslexia awareness and education.
I love it when schools spend a year doing a pilot program using the Barton System – because I know the results will be great. And next year, the school will expand the program, as this teacher shared:
Susan, with your help and guidance through our first year using the Barton Reading & Spelling System, we have had students soar with growth.
We have seen discouraged, defeated parents turn into encouraged and hopeful parents. Students beam when they feel and see how much they have accomplished over the year.
For instance, a 4th grader started the year reading at a 2.9 grade level. After seven months of doing the Barton System, she is now reading at a 5.1 grade level.
We want to thank you so much. We will be forever grateful to you and your program.
And it’s only the beginning!
Valena Taber, Education Coordinator
South Columbia Family School
When you homeschool your child, you can do Barton tutoring every day and close the gap much faster — as this parent shared:
Thank you for making a way for me to help my daughter, Ann. We just finished the entire Barton Reading & Spelling System.
When my daughter was in 5th grade, she was diagnosed with dyslexia. But she was “not bad enough” to qualify for any special help in the school. Yet she was falling further and further behind each year.
I was a stay-at-home mom, so I did not have the financial resources to hire a private tutor.
Instead, I pulled her out of her full-time public school, and found a hybrid school that has your program, The Summit Academy in Colorado. I never would have had the confidence to even try to help Ann without your “scripted” lesson plans, and her teacher, Angela Dormish, who gave Ann your posttest at the end of each level.
It took us two years, but we finished. I feel closer to Ann than I have in years.
Ann will now go back into the classroom equipped with the skills she needs.
I write this letter through grateful tears. May God richly bless you for your incredible work.
Our dyslexic kids can do well in college courses, as this parents shares:
I just had to share a success story with people who will understand what it means.
My son is severely dyslexic and was not diagnosed until he was almost 11. At that point, he could not even write simple sentences, and I was homeschooling him.
We just completed Level 10 of the Barton Reading & Spelling System in March.
David is in 9th grade and is taking three courses at the local community college as a concurrent enrollment student: World History, Biology, and Psychology. It has been a challenging semester, but the school has been wonderful about providing accommodations and most professors have been supportive.
He’s doing well in all his classes, but today was a special success. David brought home his research paper for history — the first research paper he’s ever had to write, and it required many primary and secondary sources. He earned 98/100 points!!!
I just about fell over!
I am so proud of his hard work and so thankful for the Barton System and for a school and teachers who are willing to provide needed accommodations. It just shows you what our students can do when they are given what they need.
I hope this encourages some of you who are just beginning this journey.
Michelle Chambra, former homeschool parent
now a Certified Barton Tutor
Redwood City, CA
This is why Early Intervention — of the right type and intensity — is so important.
Travis never attended public school because I realized that he showed the same symptoms of dyslexia that my older son did at that age.
So I homeschooled Travis and started him on the Barton program as soon as he was old enough. I was already using it with his older brother and having good results.
Recently, Travis began expressing a desire to go to 2nd grade public school with his friends, which I figured would happen eventually. So, I took him up to our local elementary school. The teachers, principal, and counselor were great. They took him on a tour of the school, let him observe a class, and even let him play on the playground for a while. He felt right at home and decided he might like to try public school for the last six weeks of the year — even though I did explain to Travis that he would have to continue doing Barton 3x per week after school.
Of course, the first thing the school staff wanted to do was placement testing. The reading specialist evaluated his reading level as approximately 3.0 grade level. She did mention that she thought his fluency was lacking as he read from one line of text to the next and encouraged me to read aloud to him daily.
I then shared the testing we had done with a private dyslexia interventionist who said that although he was young, it was her best opinion that he was pretty severely dyslexic. I also shared some of the results of his testing, such as being at the 2nd percentile for phonemic awareness.
Then I explained how we had been using a combination of the Barton System (which she was not familiar with, but she knew of OG), and occupational therapy for the dysgraphia for almost three years. The more I talked, the wider her eyes got.
She finally said, “I had no idea that what you are saying you have done could actually be done. I see these kids come through here with such low skills, and they get further and further behind. It scars them for life, and they never recover from it. I would have never guessed that he was dyslexic. He didn’t mix up a single sound while he was reading. I’ve never known anyone who has actually fixed it.”
Mind you, we live in Texas, where dyslexic students receive “daily intervention” from our public schools. Sadly, it is often ineffective, as it was with my oldest son, who could not read CVC words in 3rd grade despite their “intervention.”
I wish I had known how to help my oldest son before he had the chance to feel like a failure, but I just didn’t know what to do.
Thank you so much for bringing awareness and education to parents about the dyslexia community, updates about the latest research of brain imaging, and best teaching practices.
Most of all, thank you for giving my son a chance to show the world what a bright boy he is. I’m still not sure if he will go to that school or if we will continue homeschooling, but I do know that either way, he will be a success because of your program and his hard work.
I love getting emails from successful Barton students – who want to give hope and encouragement to others who are just starting this journey. Here’s one from Kate.
My name is Kate Schaefer, and I am dyslexic. I have been through the Barton System and let me tell you, it has done wonders.
I wrote this about the wonders of fighting, and eventually accepting, dyslexia. If I had read this when I was first diagnosed, it would have helped me so much emotionally along the way. Feel free to share it with anyone.
Dyslexia, defined by Webster’s dictionary, is a variable often familial learning disability involving difficulties in acquiring and processing language that is typically manifested by a lack of proficiency in reading, spelling, and writing.
This definition is undeniably verifiable and familiar to most people. However, roughly 15% of Americans have an understanding a bit beyond Webster’s description. They better comprehend, and are more comfortable with this word, because they have been at war with this genetic mutation their whole life. And I am one of the 15%.
Why did this happen? How come me and not my siblings? I don’t know. But I do know one thing. Although at times mind shatteringly challenging, it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
As I consider my personality, the obstacles I have had to overcome, and the immense amount of effort I have had to put forward, I know that something that has instilled this much strength, creativity, and determination in me could never be a bad thing.
Dyslexia has made me into the strong independent trooper I am today, and I hope that the other 15% of Americans see it this way as well.
My countless hours of tutoring, my recurring feeling of loss, and my constant need to put my best foot forward in order to succeed finally paid off. I went from a fourth grader unable to read the word “supply” to the winner of the Modern Woodmen Oration Contest.
I didn’t just start to succeed in academic classes, but in the Fine Arts as well. My dyslexia drove a passion for crafts, sewing, music, and decorating – like it has in many other dyslexics.
I am changed completely because of this, and I have made a decision to allow myself to fall in love with that fact.
I could be singing the same old “Why me?” song 5 years later.
But instead I am saying, “Why am I so lucky that I am a stronger, more creative woman than I would have been?”
This is why our bright kids with dyslexia often develop anxiety or depression — and dread going to school.
Jessica Spriggs sent this to me as an email, and gave me permission to share it. She wrote:
I’m very proud of both of my kids, but only Olivia wakes up every day knowing that she will face huge hurdles throughout her school day.
Lately, it has been extremely hard to convince her that going to school is a good idea.
She sits in class feeling defeated because she learns differently than most of her classmates.
She struggles getting through homework.
And even though she studies for tests, she may barely pass a test. She knows the material inside and out, but to apply it in the traditional way seems impossible at times.
Her teachers rave about her huge vocabulary, her poise, her generosity, and her creativity.
But there is always that moment when she feels like giving up.
Maybe it’s when her name is not posted for honor roll because she just could not make A’s and B’s despite hours of studying.
Maybe it’s when she has to think about which hand is her right hand, and she gets confused.
Maybe it’s the overwhelming pressure she feels when she knows she has to take a standardized test soon — and wonders if she can pass on to the next grade.
She has lots of anxiety, but this girl has gained strength, grit, power, endurance, and most of all, a backbone to handle everything thrown her way.
She is the face of dyslexia, but she will not let it define her!
She will concentrate on the things that make her happy: being kind, sewing, artwork, and public speaking.
This woman is another one of my heroes.
My own dyslexia was a gift from God. Meeting you was another. Thank you for all you have done to change the lives of children and their families.
Over the past decade, I have personally witnessed the success of over one hundred students whom I have tutored using the Barton System.
One of my former students graduated valedictorian and is now in vet school.
Another took herself out of special ed classes when she was in 8th grade, and she graduated with honors last year. She actually said to me, “You saved my life.”
Another worked as a night cleaner at a fast-food restaurant until he could read all the items on the menu. He was then promoted to trainer of the night cleaners. Eventually he changed jobs to become a line cook at a fancy restaurant. This young man, who began the Barton System when he was a senior in high school, now works for a well-known soda company, is married, and has 2 children.
Yet at age 18, when we started, he said, “I will never learn how to read and write. My teachers say I have a learning disability, and that’s why I am so dumb.”
After I left the public school system, I began a ministry at my church called 3H Tutoring: Help, Hope and Honor for Struggling Readers. My pastors are very supportive and have announced this ministry to the congregation.
We now have 17 students and 3 tutors: myself and 2 trained volunteers. We have seen remarkable gains in our students’ standardized test scores, an incredible gain in their self-confidence, and a newly-found love of books and literature.
Thank you for helping me save the lives, and change the future, of these wonderful students.
Founder of 3H Tutoring