Tag Archives: dyslexia

Another hero

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.

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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.

TerraBeth Jochems
Founder of 3H Tutoring
Billings, MT

Start now. Don’t Wait.

I am thrilled when parents follow my advice – and then let me know,  years later, what impact it had on their children, as this parent did. 

Susan Barton saves lives daily. She is one of the lights in the dyslexia world because she cares, and like the dyslexic people she helps, she FINDS A WAY to get things done.

I love and respect Susan Barton for all she has done for our family. I homeschooled my gifted and profoundly dyslexic sons using the Barton Reading & Spelling System.

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They are now in high school, earning college credits. One is captain of the Lacrosse team. They have started a mentoring program in their high school for kids who are dyslexic, and they are a part of a Teacher Training program at the university.

They are alive, thriving, and making an impact on the world because Susan Barton took the time to talk with me, encourage me, and provide me with the tools necessary for my children to reach their FULL potential.

Her system is solid. It is accessible to the uncertain, untrained, confused, scared parent who wants their child to soar.

START NOW.  DON’T WASTE ANOTHER MINUTE !

I followed that advice from Susan Barton, and now as the founder of Decoding Dyslexia Montana, and a trained advocate, speaker, teacher trainer, and tutor, I preach the same. START NOW . . . regardless of what the school does or does not do.

Take care of your child.

Kelly Fedge-Dubose, Founder
Decoding Dyslexia Montana

It took until 5th grade . . .

It should not take this long but sadly, it often does, as this parent shared: 

We started our journey in first grade, when our daughter’s teacher shared that she was not grasping reading concepts as fast as she should. I was shocked because I had read to her since she was a baby, and books were a big part of our home.

For the rest of that school year, we spent many long, tearful evenings trying to teach her the sight words. We would go over and over and over them, but she could not retain them.

We also spent at least two hours every night doing homework, and practicing her reading.

Despite that, at the beginning of third grade, she was only reading 27 words per minute – which was at the bottom of her class.

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She also struggled with spelling. I got her list several days early, so we would have extra time to learn the words. It did not help.

Over the years, the teachers said, “It will click one of these days,” or “She is young for her grade,” and “You are doing all the right things at home.” Yet year after year, she spent many long, tearful nights doing homework.

When I asked if she might have a learning disability, the answer was always, “No.”

In fifth grade, we hit a wall. That year, she spent four to five hours a week studying her spelling words – just to get a D.

She also got a D in Social Studies, even though I read the textbook out loud to her, because her vocabulary was way behind.

She began to have problems with her peers, partly due to her very low self-esteem.

At the end of some of our homework battles, she began to say she should be dead because she was useless. She stayed up late every night due to anxiety, and she developed depression. We knew we had to do something, but we did not know the cause of her academic struggles.

Then a friend at a party suggested she might have dyslexia. Our life changed that very day.

We decided to homeschool, which our daughter had been begging us to do since first grade, and we began using the Barton System as our language arts curriculum.

I have watched her grow into an amazing person.

I will never forget the day she started reading road signs out loud.

When she finished Level 6, I shared she could now start reading textbooks on her own. For her social studies assignment, there was a five page story to read, then an outline to complete, and comprehension questions to answer. She proudly completed all of it by herself. That was a HUGE self-esteem boost, and it has shown up in all areas of her life.

She now reads books for fun, and she is finally understanding how to spell words.

Homeschool is getting less time consuming as her vocabulary grows because we don’t have to explain as many words before we move forward. She is also better able to recall terms and ideas.

Only a year and a half ago, she was labeled “functionally illiterate.”

I can not thank you enough, Susan Barton, for saving my daughter and bringing my family such peace and happiness!

Please feel free to share our story to bring hope to other families who are still struggling.

Teresa Danelski
Sturgeon Lake, MN

Writing papers in college was so hard . . .

Adults who never got the right type of help in school say that writing papers in college was nearly impossible, as this person shared: 

I just watched your dyslexia video, and my son has almost every single warning signs from preschool to elementary school.

I also have almost every warning sign. I always joked about being “dyslexic” growing up because I was always lost and always getting my left and right confused. But I never realized I had all of the classic signs.

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I barely made it out of high school. I never wanted to go back because school was too painful !!!

I did try a semester at the local junior college, but I dropped out when the first writing assignment was given. I knew I couldn’t do it.

Years later, I took a class at a different junior college that was taught by a friend of mine. It was the most painful thing I have ever done. I did not want to disappoint my friend, so I stuck with it.

I agonized over every writing assignment. She couldn’t figure why it took me hours, and even days, to do such small writing assignments. This was before computers. I had mounds of crumpled papers, and I just about killed myself to get through that course.

I got the 2nd highest grade in the class, yet I still felt stupid because I was the only one who had to work so hard in such an easy class.

That was it. I was done with college.

I don’t want my son to go down that same path. What can I do to help him?

Never in her 13 years of teaching . . .

Teachers are amazed at how rapidly Barton students improve — even when they are tutored by a parent, as this mother shared:  

Thank you so much for developing this program and your great informational videos and website. Without those, I don’t think my daughter would have been diagnosed and gotten the help she needed.

I am currently working on Level 3 with my daughter. Since starting the Barton System, she has shown tremendous progress! Her teacher told us that in her 13 years of teaching experience, she has never seen a student have this much growth in one year! She credits the program and my commitment to it.

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That teacher has been wonderful. She has allowed me to come into the classroom for an hour twice a week to do Barton with my daughter.

By the way, that teacher is now interested in using the Barton System with a few other students she thinks will benefit from it. So that is super exciting!

Jennifer Veras, parent
Modesto, CA

Parent & Teacher Guilt

Parents who are former teachers often feel the most guilt, as this parent shared:  

I cannot tell you how many sad, frustrated tears were cried by both my now second grade son and me during his kindergarten and first grade years.

I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right but kept hearing the all too familiar “it’s developmental” and “he’s doing great and reading at grade level” nonsense — while I kept pointing out what appeared to be weak phonemic awareness and little understanding of how words are formed.

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I refused to let their words appease me and kept researching, learning, and seeking professional input until my suspicion of dyslexia was confirmed.

It absolutely breaks my heart that the teachers at the ground floor of reading instruction in our area know so little about dyslexia.

I am a former high school English teacher who now carries sadness and guilt over the unidentified, defeated students I failed to encourage and help — all because I didn’t know. I wish I could contact each one of them now and put a name on the monster that plagued them and robbed them of their confidence and made school a miserable experience.

Education programs need to do more to train future teachers, and schools need to step up and acknowledge this very common learning difference.

I am confident that my little guy will rise above this and thrive, but I feel like I need to be a voice for the other three kids with dyslexia in his class of 20, and the many more spread throughout the building.

Thank you, Mrs. Barton, for making information about dyslexia accessible and clear. You have lit a fire in me that I hope will spread through our local school district.

Laura Kuster, Teacher and Parent
Eldridge, IA

I feel so lost and alone

Almost every parent I meet has gone through an experience like this:  

Susan, I feel stuck, and I need some advice. My son is having a rough year in 5th grade. After reading some of the articles on your website, I am sure he has dyslexia.

He struggled so much in first grade that his teacher thought he had a Learning Disability. But the school said he was too young to test.

Over the years, he has made some improvement because he works hard, is a pleaser, and most of his teachers love him. In fact, he got straight A’s in 4th grade — with TONS of hard work.

But this year, he has had a one-two punch: a teacher who is not so great, plus he is hitting the “read-to-learn” wall.

I am getting nowhere with the school. They claim he tests “on level,” yet he got a D in Reading on his report card – which seems to alarm no one. When I went to his teacher with my suspicions of dyslexia, she said that in her 23 years of teaching, she had only known 1 kid with dyslexia.

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The Principal (who has a background in Special Ed) said my son might have some decoding issues. So he set up a Child Study Team meeting. But t he team said he was too bright to need help.

I tried to tell them that my 5th grade son just now, finally, learned to tie his shoes (using his own wacky, two-loop method), he cannot name the months in order, and he cannot play a game like Apples to Apples where he has to sound out a word in isolation. So they had the reading specialist assess him. She indeed found some “decoding” issues. She sent home a first grade chunk-matching game. That’s it. I am dumbfounded.

I feel lost and alone with no way to help my son. I live in a town with TWO teaching universities, yet I cannot find anyone who tests for dyslexia, or any professional tutors who are certified in one of the good Orton-Gillingham based programs.

How do I advocate for my child in a school system that deems him too bright?

Since dyslexia affects 1 in 5 kids, I can’t be the only parent feeling so helpless – and so worried about middle school.

Barton System is a Life Changer

The right type of tutoring changes everything — as this parent shares:

The Barton System changed my daughter’s life. She COULD NOT read or spell at all. She was diagnosed with dyslexia in 1st grade, and we immediately started her on this system. I purchased levels 1, 2 and 3 and tutored her myself.

It is incredibly easy to learn this system and then teach it. Susan Barton has done an exemplary job of making a product that will benefit both the student and the tutor.

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My daughter finished all ten levels and is now in 9th grade. She is reading well above grade level, loves sitting in her room reading a novel, and has an A in English — for the third year in a row. She understands the rules of spelling, she knows the strategies needed to read and comprehend, and she is ever so happy.

If you are hesitating on starting your child on this system – DON’T. You will not regret it at all.

I will warn you that it is sometimes tedious and frustrating; however, it makes sense. I will not lie and say that she loved every minute of tutoring. However, she made an enormous amount of progress fairly early on, which gave her the encouragement to keep going.

I cannot emphasize enough just how wonderful this product is. Susan Barton knocked it out of the park with this one. Best purchase ever.

Donna Gisbert, parent
Lakewood, CA

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.

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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.

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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.

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