Susan Barton loves getting emails from excited parents, like this one:
I have to share a proud mommy moment.
My 8 year old was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia right before he turned 7. He struggled with reading every day.
One day he came home and began to sob. He told me sometimes he gets mad at God for giving him a stupid brain. He said, “I know the right answer in my brain, but the wrong word comes out of my mouth.”
As a teacher, that was hard to hear. As a mom, it was devastating. I had no clue how to help him.
That night, after I dropped him off at karate, I drove straight to a tutoring clinic that specializes in dyslexia. (They use the Barton Reading & Spelling System.) I walked in and proceeded to cry like a fool. The tutor said, “It’s OK. We will help him.”
Fast forward 15 months. My son is reading above grade level, he LOVES to read, and his test scores are out of this world.
I am so proud of him. He is the most dedicated kid I have ever seen. He never complains about tutoring twice a week (even in the summer), and he works hard for the entire 60 minute session.
My son is my HERO. I’m not sure I could have overcome the obstacles of dyslexia. His dedication and determination AMAZES me.
Frankie Humble, parent
With the right type of instruction, even students caught late can succeed, as this parent shared:
My son, Kyle, had trouble reading since kindergarten. He went through 5 years of elementary school staying at a kindergarten reading level. Teachers said he would not ever read, or that he would only be a sight reader.
Then one of his teachers, Emily Moss, got trained in the Barton Reading & Spelling System. She started tutoring him at the beginning of sixth grade. He just finished seventh grade, and his success is beyond words.
For the first time, he took the state standards test at the end of the year, and he passed the reading portion with a 3 — which means he met the standards. His teacher was so excited that she pulled him out of lunch to give him the news.
Imagine going from the kindergarten level to 7th grade level in just two years.
He’s able to read billboards, and he reads books by himself that he’s interested in. He’s never had that type of independence before.
I just want to thank you for the program. My hope is that all schools will have at least one teacher who has been trained in your program so they will be able to help another child like Kyle.
Tina Smith, parent
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
When you are going through the long process of tutoring, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. So I wanted to share this message that was posted on a Facebook page for parents of children with dyslexia. This parent gave me permission to share her post.
A message of hope for all struggling students and parents:
My daughter was 3 years behind in reading in 3rd grade.
At the beginning of 4th grade, testing showed she was only reading at the 4th percentile.
So we found a tutor, and over the next 3 years, my daughter went through the Barton Reading & Spelling System at her pace, and she learned to read.
The Barton System claims to be able to bring dyslexic children up to a 9th-grade reading level, and boy, did it deliver.
I just received my daughters results from the high school placement test where she scored … drum roll please … 95th percentile. That means she scored higher than 95 percent her peers.
She has gone from hating to read to reading a book a week. It has been quite an amazing transformation.
Thank you Susan Barton, my wonderful Barton tutor, and my amazing hard-working daughter who never gives up. Tears of joy flow freely.
Kristen Day, parent
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.