This was posted on a homeschool Facebook page. The parent gave me permission to share it here.
I am celebrating tonight.
I have a child who was diagnosed as profoundly dyslexic at 9 years old. We went through 7 levels of the Barton System while I homeschooled him.
He is now in a college-prep, private high school. At the recent parent-teacher conference, his teacher was shocked to find out he is dyslexic. I did not tell the teachers in advance because I wanted to get a true measure of his capabilities.
He has excellent grades. The teacher said he even volunteers to read Macbeth aloud in class.
I almost cried! This is the same kid who made me ask our youth pastor to not call on him to read out loud … ever.
So stick with it, homeschool parents. It is so worth the years of hard work.
Allison Gentala, homeschool parent
If the early levels of the Barton System are hard for your child, stick with it. This parent explains why.
Barton tutoring has made all the difference for my son. He had spent all of first grade working on 3 letter words, but he still could not consistently read them correctly.
He started Barton tutoring (three times per week) in second grade — very aware that he was just not able to learn reading and writing like the other children.
The beginning levels of Barton were very challenging for him. His tutor had to play lots of games mixed in with the lessons. He magically always seemed to win those games, which kept his self esteem high enough to keep working on the reading skills that were so difficult for him.
As he progressed, he realized this was a system of learning that made sense to him.
When he was in Level 5, he would finally read simple chapter books on his own. Somewhere between Levels 5 and 7, his fluency improved tremendously and he was reading at the speed of a typical student. Since then, his confidence has been growing steadily as he’s worked his way through the end of Level 10.
He is now 11 years old, and on his Stanford Achievement Test at the end of 5th grade, he tested as reading on a post high school level.
As a parent, I encourage other parents to make tutoring a priority, even when schedules are tight and there are other demands for our time and resources. I faced many days of my child complaining or having melt downs or stomach aches to avoid going to school or tutoring. In the end, I bribed him with screen time for every completed lesson and gifts for completing every level.
I also spent a lot of time educating teachers and advocating for accommodations to allow my son to do work orally, not read uncontrolled text in the early levels, not be taught to read and write in Spanish, and to be allowed to type when other kids were handwriting.
In the end, it was all worth it — and I would do it over again in a heartbeat.
My son is happy and confident. Handwriting and spelling are still challenges, but he manages with typing and spellcheck.
The biggest difference is he is no longer held back by his dyslexia. He can now read and write at the level of his intelligence.
Susan, thank you a thousand times for all your dedication to kids with dyslexia.
Michelle Cudzinovic, parent
With the right type of tutoring, even children with severe dyslexia can succeed, as this mother shared:
My son and daughter completed Level 10 of the Barton System a few months ago, and I want to thank you for the many ways you have helped our family.
My children were diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD right before 2nd grade. Even though we had a dyslexia diagnosis on paper from an excellent children’s hospital, our public school district claimed they were not legally obligated to recognize dyslexia as a learning problem. Therefore, they were not obligated to provide services.
So we decided to homeschool using the Barton System.
Just after he was diagnosed, I found my son sitting on the floor, staring at an open book, crying. I asked him what was wrong. He said books and words didn’t make sense to him, and he just wanted to be able to read like everyone else.
Frankly, there were times when I didn’t think he would ever read well enough to order from restaurant menus.
He now reads Sherlock Holmes books for pleasure. He can do all his high school academic reading on his own, and he competently writes his own essays with minor accommodations.
My daughter is doing equally well. She has no problem reading her high school textbooks and absolutely LOVES to read. She has now read hundreds of books of her choosing for enjoyment. She also loves creative writing and writes her high school essays with minimal support.
As parents who knew absolutely nothing about dyslexia before our children were diagnosed, the support through your website, videos, google tutor group, email and by phone has been invaluable.
I don’t know where we would be, academically or emotionally, if the Barton System did not exist.
So thank you for being an expert on dyslexia and sharing your knowledge with so many who need it.
Michelle Raine, parent
Susan loves getting emails from parents, like this one:
When I first contacted you, we had already tried Orton Gillingham, Lindamood-Bell, a private school for dyslexic students for 2 years, vision therapy, tutoring at a Score center, and the Sound Reading program. Nothing had worked.
Truly I was at a loss when I turned to you. Thank you for the Barton System. It is the ONLY program that worked for my son. He loves his Barton tutoring sessions, and he now feels confident, creative, and gifted.
Sky has finished Level 9 of the Barton System and is doing so well in school.
He did concurrent high school and college enrollment. After the first month, he stopped using all of his accommodations (textbooks on audio, recording of lectures, and extra time on tests). He got all A’s and B’s on his college assignments, and A’s on his final exams.
He just graduated high school, in 6 months he will complete his Auto Tech Certification, and then he will continue on for a college degree in Automotive Engineering and Design.
The Barton System is fabulous, concise, flows and builds on itself, and most importantly, it works.
Thank you for creating this system and being an advocate for dyslexia.
Meri Seibert, parent
Los Angeles, CA
When students finish Level 10 of the Barton System, there’s no stopping them, as this mother shared.
While I was homeschooling, I took both of my sons through all 10 levels of the Barton System.
Asher, my older son, is finishing his first year in a traditional school as a Freshman, with straight A’s. His teachers often express amazement at how little his dyslexia is hindering him.
Alex, my younger son, found out he won an essay contest with a $150 cash prize the same day he finished Level 10.
From a boy who struggled to write more than a few sentences 3 years ago to an essay winner!
Many thanks to you and the Barton System.
Maureen Becker, parent
Redwood City, CA
My son Kody completed all ten levels of the Barton Reading & Spelling System. He is now a Junior in high school. He recently wrote this paper for English class. I wanted to share it with you.
Being 17 years old and having dyslexia may not seem like a big deal. But what I’ve had to do to this point in my life may be hard for others to comprehend. For most people, when they hear of someone that has a disability, they feel bad and look down on them.
People do not understand how hardworking, motivated and determined we are.
From the beginning of elementary school to third grade, I was always behind in school and not progressing like other students in my class, no matter how hard I had worked. I was then tested for dyslexia.
Being told I have a disability by my mother was really hard to accept in the beginning; however, it may have actually been one of the best parts of my life.
I finally had an explanation as to why I wasn’t doing as well in school. Teachers finally would stop saying that I “wasn’t trying” or that I just needed to put more effort into school.
I knew that having a disability was not going to cause me to give up. I knew that I would have to work twice as hard as everyone else.
I pushed myself throughout the rest of elementary school and through middle school, trying to get on the same level as my peers. I tried many things — such as doing different reading programs (some that had helped amazingly, the Barton Reading & Spelling System, and others that did not), working with my teachers one-on-one outside of school, and spending every night doing four to five hours of homework when other kids would get their homework done in class.
The one goal I wanted to achieve by high school was to avoid standing out from everyone else. Going into high school, I was finally on the same level as the other kids in my grade.
Having known and experienced just how hard it can be to have a disability, I have insights as to what other kids are most likely dealing with. It may be peers making fun of them, being told they can’t do something just because of their disability, or teachers not understanding how they learn best.
For me, the most stressful part of class was being terrified I was going to be called on to read out loud and then being judged by my peers.
When given a writing assignment, I would sit by myself, away from everyone, so no one would be able to see my writing and laugh at me.
Being someone with a disability, I know that there are always going to be people who will never understand the journey that I, along with many others, have faced; nor what I have done to get to where I am now. I hope that sharing my story will help others understand not only the negatives of having a disability, but also to see the opportunities that are possible.
Through all the struggles I’ve faced and experienced, I have always pushed through and thrived. The biggest advice I can give to someone with a disability is not to be ashamed of it or let it label you as “abnormal” (compared to whatever “normal” may be).
In my case, I would never say, “I’m a dyslexic.” I would say, “I am a person that has dyslexia.”
A disability is one part of who you are; it’s up to you to show the world how you want to be seen.
Koby Koblitz, Barton Graduate
I love it when tutors get this excited about their students’ success.
My students have been in Barton for about a year. Their teachers are excited by the improvement in their reading and spelling.
But I love their new feelings of self-worth and confidence.
Teachers share that my students now participate in class discussions on a variety of topics — something they did not do before.
Parents share their kids are now reading bigger books at home.
That’s why I recommend the Barton System to my friends whose children struggle with reading and spelling.
Thanks so much for creating a way to give children their confidence back.
Barton tutor at a small private school
When you catch dyslexia early, children catch up faster — as this parent shares.
My son Nicholas is in second grade at a private school. We took him out of the public school system when they failed to identify his dyslexia — even though the public school in our town is one of the best in our state.
We had him tested privately. He has moderate dyslexia. They recommended we tutor him using the Barton Reading & Spelling System.
Nicholas is about to start Level 4 in your system. His reading grade was a C in the first quarter, went to a B in the second quarter, and in the last quarter, he got an A. My son is excelling in the Barton System. He is even volunteering to read to his classmates.
We are very proud of our son’s success. Your system has been critical for that success.
Gy and Cynthia Kern, parents
Notes like this is what keeps me energized and willing to work so hard:
Susan, I just wanted to thank you for all your help over the years. I have called you several times for advice, and you even reviewed our neuropsychologist’s report on our kids, Michael (9th grade), Patrick (8th grade), and Nicholas (6th grade).
All of them are severely to profoundly dyslexic. I never thought they would read, and even half way into Level 3 of the Barton System, I didn’t think they would ever read for pleasure.
But they all read now. Two of them read for pleasure every single day. And all them are doing well in school.
Our biggest problem is convincing teachers that they are actually dyslexic!
I can’t imagine what their life would be like without you or the Barton System.
Mary and Matthew Crandall, parents
I love getting emails like this:
Five years ago, my son was struggling terribly. He was in third grade and could no longer mask the difficulty he was having with reading fluency.
Homework drove him to tears. It had gotten so bad that he would hit himself in the head and call himself “stupid.” It broke my heart.
Today, Nolan completed the Barton Reading & Spelling System with Janis Garcia, a wonderful Certified Barton Tutor. He proudly received his certificate signed by Susan Barton.
Nolan is excelling in school, but perhaps more importantly, he has regained his self-confidence.
I can’t thank you enough for all you have done to drive awareness, to advocate, and to provide resources for addressing the needs of children with dyslexia. It has made all the difference in the world for our family.
Kim Shinmoto, parent