“My son has had a huge improvement from 6th to 7th grade in doing homework independently and the only thing that I can possibly think is the reason is the study skills and reading and writing help he received last summer.”
– Parent of Middle School summer student
The Story of Daniel
We knew something was wrong when Daniel was in preschool. Our bright little boy was having problems learning the alphabet, and he was not able to recognize letters like the other preschoolers. His difficulty was a surprise to us because we saw how much Daniel was learning in other ways. He was a very observant little boy who had a wealth of knowledge. Even then he sounded like an adult, but something as basic as the alphabet was throwing him for a loop.
The Story of Joel
“Mommy, I am stupid”. Joel was a first-grader, and just home from school. He sat on the carpet, his head hanging low, as he shared his fears. He could not read, he said, like the others in his first grade class. We were surprised that Joel was having difficulty, and we were heart-broken to see his confidence wane. Joel was a bright child who made witty and insightful contributions to our family conversations – even with siblings who were 3 to 11 years older than he, and he had done well in pre-school and kindergarten. When his first-grade teacher confirmed he was having difficulty, we had him tested. The specialist said he was not dyslexic, but that he could benefit from tutoring.
The Story of Lucas
Lucas had done fine in preschool and kindergarten. He did not like doing certain homework in kindergarten, however, such as writing the alphabet or looking for items around the house that began with the featured letter of the alphabet for that week. “I don’t want to learn to read,” he complained. In first grade, when the reading started in earnest, he began to hit the wall. There was a note home on his behavior in the beginning of October. We talked about how he could improve, and Lucas promised to pay attention and do what the teacher asked. Lucas did his homework, and we got papers back from the school showing he was “on grade level.” Then, his reading teacher called in late April. She told us that Lucas was struggling with reading and had difficulty with organization. Furthermore, his handwriting was quite poor. I called for a meeting with the school. That meeting was quite disturbing. The teachers suggested that Lucas was troubled by perhaps something at home, or that perhaps we did not read to him enough, or that he had attention deficit disorder (ADD). We worked all summer on reading, and Lucas read over 50 books with us, even though it was very painful and difficult for him. He was really trying hard to learn to read well.