Tag Archives: creativity

Thank You For My Daughter’s Victory Story

Susan Barton loves hearing from homeschool parents who have completed the Barton System — and the difference that has made in their child’s skills. 

My daughter struggled learning to read. Most days in Kayla’s early elementary years involved tears over writing and reading. By the end of third grade, she was clearly falling well behind her peers. Yet she tried to hide her inability to read.

In our attempt to find answers to her struggle, we discovered that dyslexia was the root of her issue. After much research on program options, we were convinced that the Barton Reading & Spelling System was what she needed.

We were blessed to find a Barton tutor in our area. She was amazing! Within the first couple months of using the program, my daughter, who used to cry at the thought of reading a simple paragraph, would be curled up with her nose in a book for hours. She suddenly loved to read and a whole new world was opened to her.

Proficiency in reading came quicker than in writing. In sixth grade, she still could not write a cohesive paragraph. So her tutor worked with her through seventh grade until Kayla far exceeded her grade level.

Kayla’s experience with the Barton System really changed her path in life. Previously she’d had no thoughts of college. But with her boost in confidence, she decided she would like to try it. I can’t tell you how thrilled we both were, when prior to eleventh grade, she passed an English placement test and was accepted at the college of her choice. She even passed the College Composition CLEP test!

Kayla completed a number of dual enrollment classes her junior and senior years of high school and even graduated a year early.

She graduated college with an associate degree at age 18! She was on the Dean’s list every semester and graduated with high honors. She excelled as an intern in her field of study, where she is now happily working full time. She is confident and loving it.

my daughters victory

We are so grateful to have discovered the Barton System. Thank you so much!

Lisa Wadel, parent
Marion, PA

We Did It

Susan Barton loves hearing from homeschool parents who have completed the Barton System — and the difference that has made in their child’s skills. 

We did it! My son has successfully completed the Barton Reading and Spelling System.

We began homeschooling shortly after I started Barton with him, which allowed us to really focus on it and do it at a time of day when he had the energy reserves to tackle the challenge the program presents.

We started Barton in June of 2018 and just over 3 years later, he can read just about anything. A boy who could barely get through two pages of a Percy Jackson book recently read five chapters in one sitting.

A boy who couldn’t spell basic vowel team words like “cool” or spell the word “magnet” the same way twice in 4th grade (in spite of the word “magnet” being provided in the title of a writing prompt and in spite of science being his favorite subject), can now successfully spell sentences like “My cousin Jim, a sophomore, is studying anthropology.” (That’s a Book 10, Lesson 10, sentence. He nailed it.)

He has discovered that he has a superior sense of narrative and creativity which he has applied to writing a couple short plays (one of which was chosen to represent the class in a talent show at our homeschool community) and short stories.

wedidit

His confidence has improved so much.

Just wanted to share our success to encourage all of you still in the trenches to keep going, because it’s worth it!

Michelle Pollace, homeschool parent
Campbell, CA

If you cannot afford testing . . .

If you cannot afford testing, do what this mom did.[audio https://brightsolutionsdyslexia.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/if-you-cannot-afford-testing.mp3]

My son had always struggled with reading. I knew something was not quite right but never could figure it out. I asked his first grade teacher if it could be dyslexia. She assured me it was not, and she was not worried about his reading. She was concerned about his lack of focus.

But at the beginning of 3rd grade, one of the items on my son’s school supply list was an NIV Bible. I bought it . . . and cried. I knew he could not read it, not even close. He could not even read the children’s Bible we had at home. He was CLEARLY far behind, and it was much more than just being distracted.

So I started to do some research on the computer. Why could he read a word in one sentence but not the next? Why were all his words missing vowels?  Why couldn’t he sound out words? He had plenty of phonics instruction.  Why did a clock baffle him so much? Why was he still reversing letters and had handwriting that looked like he was just learning to print?

I found your website. There it was! I could check off about 95% of the symptoms. My son had dyslexia!!

Yet when I shared this with my son’s school, they were skeptical and encouraged us to get formal testing because they did not think it was his issue. But the cost of professional testing was high. We had to decide which was more important: get a diagnosis (knowing his school did not have the right type of help) or skip that and go directly to the solution.

We chose to get the Barton Reading & Spelling system so I could tutor him myself.

We have now been using it for 2 years, after school twice a week, and we are half way through Level 7.

Recently, we had to miss church. So I encouraged my boys to read a Bible story and I pulled out our children’s Bible that I knew my son could now read. Instead, he pulled out his NIV Bible, that same Bible I wept over 2 years ago, the same one I feared my son would never be able to read. He opened it up and read aloud while his 3 younger brothers listened.

He enjoys reading now, and his fifth grade teacher has never mentioned “lack of focus” or “not being prepared.” Instead, she talks about my son’s amazing “writer’s voice,” and his grades are all A’s and B’s.

My son embraces his dyslexia. We do not romanticize it or deny that it makes things hard for him. But he knows that the brain differences that gave him grief with his reading and spelling . . . are the same brain differences that created his amazing imagination, his fantastic building skills, and his love of music.

Thank you, Susan, for the work you do. It has clearly changed my son’s life.

Tutoring is only half the answer

Parents ask why I often state that private schools (such as Montessori, Waldorf, Christian, Catholic or Jewish schools) can be better places for children with dyslexia than public schools.

Private schools often do not know any more about dyslexia than public schools, but they are much more willing to provide free simple classroom accommodations — which are as critical as the right type of tutoring.

A parent of a child in a public school recently sent me a BCC of this email that she sent to her child’s teacher.

Dear Mrs. Smith:

It is 1:45 a.m. and I am not sleeping . . . again.

I am frustrated and hoping for your help.

I waited a few days since Lynn’s IEP meeting before writing this.

I do not want to come off as unreasonable or angry. But I cannot help but feel like the last 2-3 months of the school’s assessments were a massive exercise in futility. I came into the IEP meeting assuming that we were finally going to get Lynn some help and put some modifications and accommodations in place.

Instead . . . well, you were there. We simply restated what had already been established 2 years ago: Lynn is a bright little girl who does not qualify for special education help. I get that. I got that 2 years ago. My question is: what next?

I have spent countless hours and thousands of dollars getting Lynn officially diagnosed. I am paying to have her tutored after school by a Certified Barton tutor. I just need a 504 Plan put into place so we can get some simple free classroom accommodations.

I have been requesting that since the first day of school. It is now March. March !!!

I am more than willing to do my part. I will redouble my efforts to find support outside of school. But how do we get some classroom accommodations?

Compare that to this email from a parent whose child attends a private Christian school.

My son was formally diagnosed with moderate dyslexia in third grade — after a teacher at his private Christian school suggested dyslexia might be the cause of his struggles.

Timmy has hated school with a passion ever since he started Kindergarten. He would wake up every day crying, banging his pillow, and begging not to go to school, saying the work was “just too hard.”

Daily homework assignments went on with hours, and I mean hours, with temper tantrums, constant tears, anger and frustration beyond the roof as I am sure you can imagine.

Before school, Timmy’s personality had always been quiet, content and a deep thinker. You can imagine my horror to see his wonderful demeanor turn into such anger and frustration as each school season progressed.

He had all the early signs of dyslexia, but of course, we never knew what we were looking at. He went through school as this very angry, frustrated child, until finally, his third grade teacher recognized a very obvious problem, and led us to what he so desperately needed.

I am so thankful that he goes to a private school.  Although legally, they do not have to provide accommodations or intervention, his school feels a moral obligation to provide both.

I am starting to see Timmy’s anger and frustration level drop as his reading and spelling is getting better, thanks to his Barton tutoring.

Homework time has become a million times better, thanks to the accommodations he is entitled to when needed.

His creativity is also flourishing. I am blown away by what he understands or creates out of his own observations.

He also has an amazing maturity well beyond his years, and his incredible insight to see and understand things is jaw dropping.

Parents, if your child’s public school refuses to provide accommodations, consider moving your child to a more flexible private school.

Unique Gifts of Dyslexics

The gifted areas that come with dyslexia show up very early in life — as this mother shares:

I have read Dr. Sally Shaywitz’s book and have reviewed your website and many of your videos. This has caused me to have a Eureka! moment regarding my son. I have known that something was wrong with my very bright child for quite a while, but couldn’t seem to figure out what it was or what to do about it.

In addition to having most of the classic weak areas, he has so many of the gifted areas — even though he is only 9 and in third grade.

He is incredibly mechanically inclined. He builds complicated lego robots that he programs himself.

He is extremely creative. I have crazy inventions all over my house.

He is artistic. He especially loves sculpture, but he is also good at painting and photography. In fact, he has gone on to the state level in the local PTA Reflections photography contest 2 years in a row.

He is musically inclined. He plays the piano — by ear.

Additionally, he has always been extremely sympathetic and compassionate with others — to the point where several friends and relatives have mentioned it to me.

He has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. He started a mulch spreading business at the age of 7, complete with marketing materials. He actually convinced a perfect stranger, a nice cashier at our local grocery store, to hire him (I went with him to the job for safety reasons of course). He has excellent sales skills. He has now extended his business (and customer base) to total yard care. This year, he made a company t-shirt and hat, as well as fliers and business cards, and a wooden sign for the front yard. The only thing my husband and I have done is given him encouragement and corrected his spelling!

Once he gets an idea in his head, it is like a dog on a bone — there is no distracting him from one of his projects (like figuring out which trees in our yard were maples last summer so that he could tap them and make maple syrup this spring. This project is, thankfully, complete). He works out all the steps to complete his project himself (including getting help from the librarian to find a book on the subject in the adult section) and he won’t stop pestering us if he needs help to reach his next goal (such as someone to use the power drill on the tree. He hammered the tap in himself).

I just wish he would be so focused on cleaning his room, which at times (if I don’t keep on top of him constantly) reaches fire hazard level.

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