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
I would like share how very impressed I am with the Barton System.
As a Special Education teacher with more than three decades of teaching experience, I have used many different reading programs over the years. But I have never before encountered anything as comprehensive as your system. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into developing a true quality product.
The difference it is making for my dyslexic students is really impressive. Their reading and spelling skills, plus general self-esteem, grow visibly with each tutoring session.
I love using your program!
The Open Door Educational Services
This is why adults are my favorite type of student:
Howard will be graduating from Level 10 of the Barton System in a few weeks.
Howard is an adult who was referred to us from a literacy center because they were not able to help him.
When Howard was young and in school, he was teased mercilessly because he could not read. He defended himself the only way he knew how — with his fists. The schoolyard scuffles turned into street fights, knife fights, and jail time.
When he came to us, he could not read the word “cat.”
He did not pass your student screening, so I had to start him with LiPS program and then took him into Level 1. He made slow but steady progress, although he considered dropping out because he felt the early words were too babyish. Luckily, he stuck with it, and he continued to improve.
Once, when we were walking out, I said to him, “You’re getting a little better each day.” He replied, “And I’m holding my head a little higher each day.” After 45 years of feeling worthless, he finally started feeling good about himself.
I wish I could say this story has a happy ending. Sadly, last April, Howard was diagnosed with ALS and the doctors only gave him 1-2 years. It’s been hard watching this once big, strong man deteriorate so much. He’s lost most of the control of his muscles, but his mind still works. We’ve been working very hard to finish the Barton System before the inevitable occurs.
I’m happy to say Howard will complete the entire Barton program in a few weeks. This is important because Howard has never achieved any scholastic success of any kind in his life. Your graduation certificate will be his first diploma of any kind.
Of the hundreds of students I’ve seen at the Dyslexia Reading Connection, none have made me more proud than Howard. He’s worked his tail off despite ever increasing obstacles, he’s never complained, and he’s always worked hard. I’m so happy to see him finally succeed in an academic pursuit.
Dyslexia Reading Connection
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.