This is why Susan Barton warns parents that if their child needs testing to prove dyslexia, do not wait until they have finished the Barton System.
I wanted to share some exciting news about my son, Brian, who is now 16.
He was diagnosed with severe dyslexia when he was 10.
He needed an updated educational evaluation for accommodations on the college entrance exams. He was evaluated by Dr. Varia, Ph.D. from Mindwell Psychology. She has a strong specialty in dyslexia.
After Dr. Varia tested him, she told me that she would not have known Brian has dyslexia had I not told her prior to the exam. Her testing did not pick it up. She said Brian has been completely remediated. I was stunned!
I knew your program was the best, but I had no idea that it could improve Brian’s reading and spelling skills to the point that his dyslexia became undetectable.
So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so very much!
Amy Summers, parent
and Certified Barton Tutor at the Advanced Level
The right tutor, using the right program, can change everything — as this parent shared:
Hayden was not diagnosed with dyslexia until fifth grade.
Looking back, however, there were signs: family history, hours spent on homework that should have taken less than half the time to complete, trouble memorizing spelling words for the weekly test, not reading at grade level and the most obvious, but missed, was dysgraphia.
Hayden did not verbally communicate his struggles. He just said he hated school. His behavior at school was fine. In fact, the teachers loved him. Where we noticed problems were outbursts of anger and frustration at home and during sports.
So we decided to hit a reset button and pull him from all things not related to school.
We sent him to tutoring at Kumon, which only made things worse because he was sent home with lots more work to complete.
We also made him practice handwriting for a half an hour a day, which again, only made things worse.
I had a friend who was certified to test for dyslexia and after talking with her and having him tested, she confirmed Hayden was dyslexic. She had a list of recommendations.
On the top of her list was getting Hayden into tutoring with the Barton Reading & Spelling System, and Kelly Christian was the tutor she recommended.
When we met with Kelly, she was not only super sweet and personable, but she really knew what we were struggling with.
Hayden began tutoring with Kelly two times a week in June 2016. She made tutoring fun, and they developed a great relationship. He did not fight going, and we started to see positive changes right away. His grades started to improve and so did his attitude.
Using the new techniques Kelly showed him, Hayden started reading again and was even able to understand why words are spelled the way they are and how to break them down into the smaller root word.
He completed the 10 level program in just under 3 years, in March 2019.
Hayden is a different student now. He understands what he’s learning and doesn’t hate school.
By showing him the reasons why, and the different tricks we dyslexics can use to learn and remember, Hayden is back at grade level and ready for high school.
Kari Carlson, parent
San Clemente, California
Susan Barton loves hearing from parents who take action right away, as this parent did:
My daughter had neuropsych testing done 3 1/2 years ago. She was diagnosed with dyslexia.
I researched and found a Barton tutor a month later.
We have worked tirelessly year round for the last 3 1/2 years. She is now in the middle of Level 8.
My daughter was recently retested by that neuropsych. The doc was STUNNED at her reading ability. He said it is very rare to see a child jump that drastically in their reading skills — and whatever I’m doing, keep it up!
Thank you, Susan, for creating the Barton System.
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
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.
This email, which was sent to me by a homeschooling parent in Florida, touched my heart.
Our story begins when my son, Larry, was in kindergarten. He missed out on play time because he struggled to identify letters and their sounds.
In first grade, sight words caused him to miss play time.
In second grade, timed reading and math became 75% of his grade. Third grade would bring the FCAT. I was told if a student cannot read 150 words a minute, they probably would not be able to finish that test.
So we homeschooled Larry in third grade. We also asked the public school to test him. They said he had ADHD. But by then, I had been homeschooling for half a year and I felt that probably was not true. So I hired a private psychologist to test him. It turns out our son had “classic dyslexia.”
Homeschool continued through 3rd and 4th grade. Although I slowed everything down, I continued using the same curriculum – but it wasn’t working. Larry was extremely frustrated. By 5th grade, he and I were at our wits end. Shortly after starting the school year, Larry broke down and said he was stupid and wanted to kill himself. That still brings tears to my eyes.
On that very day, I knew I had to find an answer. So I got on the computer and started frantically searching for a way to teach my son. I decided to go to a message board for parents with dyslexic kids. The ONLY thing they were talking about was the Barton Reading & Spelling System – which level they were finishing, and who had the next one.
Right then and there, I googled Susan Barton. I watched your video on dyslexia that was on your website. I was overcome with emotion as I listened to you talk about your story and heard your passion for dyslexic kids. You were the first person who explained dyslexia in detail, both its weaknesses and STRENGTHS. I called Larry in to listen to part of it and I told him, “This is who you are. You are a brilliant and amazing boy to have learned as much as you have – despite the way I am teaching you.”
You promised that with the Barton System, my son would read at or above grade level and his spelling would improve, and I believed you.
Needless to say, homeschool has not been the same. Larry is now a 7th grader, is in Level 6 of the Barton System, and now believes that he can go to college and excel.
Thank you. Susan. I am forever grateful that you have become an important part of Larry’s life and education.
As this parent shared, “slower and louder” will not work for a child who has dyslexia.
To hear Susan Barton’s advice for homeschool parents who use (or are thinking about using) the Barton Reading & Spelling System, watch my free on-line presentation by clicking on the following link:
By the way, that presentation also contains useful advice for parents thinking about homeschooling.
Many states have recently passed, or are working on, a “Third Grade Guarantee” law, which includes mandatory retention for third graders who do NOT pass the reading portion of the end-of-year statewide exam.
Pam Collier, a parent in Ohio, gave me permission to share her email that explains why that law is as bad for students withOUT dyslexia as it is for those who do have dyslexia.
From: Pam Collier
Date: August 19, 2014
Subject: Third grade guarantee
Dear Superintendent of Public Instruction at the Ohio Department of Education:
I am writing out of concern for my three children and Ohio’s Third Grade Guarantee. I have three very different children, and the guarantee will effect each of them differently.
First, I have a 10 year old daughter who is accelerated. She has tested in the gifted range on her Terra Nova, and has scored well above the cutoff of the guarantee scoring — in the Accelerated range for math and reading.
Now you are probably wondering how the guarantee could have any effects on this student. Actually, it has had a huge impact. My daughter spent her entire third grade year being “taught to the test.”
Teachers are terrified of poor test scores which negatively impact their evaluations. Instead of challenging bright young minds, the system is telling these students, “We don’t care whether you have a special gift. We just need you to do well on this test.”
My daughter was afraid of failing the test because teachers are creating so much anxiety and placing way too much pressure on our students.
Now, I have a second daughter who is a twin. She is 7 years old. Because she is a twin, I started to notice differences in her learning very early. At the age of 4, I began asking if she was dyslexic, citing she was having trouble remembering letters, numbers, rhyming, etc. I was assured that she was fine, and that her twin (my son) was just advanced.
Fast forward to kindergarten, and first grade. I asked the same questions.
In my gut, I knew I had to do something. So I pursued outside professional testing for my daughter. She was diagnosed with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and a visual processing disorder.
We tried getting help through the school on several occasions, and were told, “We don’t do one-on-one tutoring, we don’t have the funds for that, we don’t have anyone trained to provide the remediation your daughter needs.” So I hired an Orton Gillingham tutor who was recommended by the International Dyslexia Association.
Now, because she is not on an IEP, she is not exempt from the guarantee. Not exempt!
A child with dyslexia, a visual processing disorder, and attention deficit disorder is not exempt from retention because of a single test? A child whose parents are paying over $5,000 a year to a private tutor because her public school cannot meet her needs? A child who was not identified by the school, but was identified because her parents paid for private testing?
A child who works 5 times as hard as a student without dyslexia to learn, who is also working outside of school with a private tutor, may be retained because of a single score on a single test on a single day, in a single year?
Now, mind you, if she should fail and be retained, the state has mandated that she receive remediation “from a qualified instructor, trained in the remediation of students with a disability in reading, from a program that is approved by the state board of education.” This, from the same school system that said, “We don’t have the time, funds, or individuals with training to help your daughter.”
The same school system that told my husband and I that our goals “were too high” for our daughter. Our goals were that she meet the same benchmark as her non-disabled peers by the end of her second grade year. Our goals were too high? That is what we were told. We are being told that we should not hold our daughter by the same standards due to her disability, yet she will be held to the same standard when taking the OAA.
The Third Grade Guarantee is not serving our children’s needs. Research has shown that retention will lead to higher dropout rates. Teaching to the test is devaluing our greatest young minds. We need to have teachers who can challenge our most gifted students, and specialists who can remediate our students with learning disabilities.
We are doing the very best we can for our daughter. My husband and I are both professionals, and we know what is working for her. What recourse will we have if our bright daughter with dyslexia, a visual processing disorder, and attention deficit disorder, fails the OAA? She will get held back for what purpose? To receive the “extensive remediation” she is already receiving privately?
Why is it a mandate to retain some of our brightest individuals based on a single test?
Why are charter schools not held to the same standards?
Why do public school students have to undergo more than a dozen standardized tests, while private school students do not?
When will educators from the Ohio Department of Education realize that retention is not the answer?
Most homeschool parents do not know any more about dyslexia than teachers. But homeschool parents tend to focus on their child’s strengths while they continue to search for answers – as this mom shared.
I have homeschooled all 3 of my children, one of whom is severely dyslexic. It has been wonderful to be able to tutor my son in the Barton System while making every accommodation he needs to excel in all subjects.
Though he struggled with reading and writing for years before we found the Barton System, we always focused on his strengths, so he has never felt like he wasn’t as smart as others. Quite the contrary. He has excelled in math – completing high school geometry in 7th grade, and he is a history buff. He is also in a high school level literature discussion group (he listens to the books on audio), and he is involved in sports and theater.
My other two children are not dyslexic, so he has no qualms at all about asking his little brother or older sister how to spell a word now and then. To him, being dyslexic is really no different than someone being a faster or slower runner, taller or shorter, blue eyes or brown eyes, etc.
I am incredibly thankful to Susan Barton for giving so much of her time to present lectures on dyslexia. I went to one of her free presentations at my local public library about 4 years ago, and it literally changed our lives. I suddenly realized what was going on with my son, and shortly thereafter, had him diagnosed with dyslexia and started tutoring him with the Barton System.
To hear Susan Barton’s advice for homeschool parents (or those who are thinking about homeschooling), watch her free 30-minute on-line presentation by clicking on the following link:
A child with dyslexia needs 3 things: to be identified, the right type of tutoring, and accommodations until the skills gap is closed.
I just received this email from a parent whose child got all 3.
Susan, nine years ago you screened our son, David, for dyslexia. As you may recall, when my husband and I heard the results, we were both extremely concerned for his future.
Well, through years of Barton tutoring and some wonderful administrators willing to implement the accommodations you recommended, David will be graduating and is going to attend Emory University.
David has been in all general education classes and will be graduating with a 3.74 GPA. A monumental achievement for a young boy who could not read nor remember his ABC’s in third grade.
Thank you for being committed to helping children such as David. We are forever indebted.