We have a reader!

He’s reading! He’s really reading. Just look at this picture – reading at the breakfast table this morning, ignoring his pancake.

img_6443I actually had to tell him to put the book away. And I’ve had to add “make sure he’s turned the light out” to our bedtime routine. I can’t quite believe it.

Eric has dyslexia. We knew something was not quite right by the end of Grade 1, but we couldn’t put our finger on it. He was in the highest reading group in class, but he regularly “read” without looking at the pages. He learned many things quickly and easily, but he didn’t like school and he just couldn’t seem to get along with his teacher. This made no sense: she was experienced and beloved by many; he was funny and eager. They hit an impasse and, bless her, she just kept saying “I don’t know what it is, but something isn’t right.” Finally, despite my misgivings about testing young children, we took Eric for an assessment. And it turned out he was reading at the 3rd percentile for his age. THE THIRD. He was fake reading all over the place.

We are incredibly lucky that we figured this out early. I learned about dyslexia and found a tutor who uses a researched method with proven outcomes (The Barton method – Orton Gillingham based). She’s amazing and Eric, the trooper, has rarely complained about two hours of tutoring a week. Still, frankly, the progress has been slow. I know that the tutoring is not simply supposed to teach him to read but rather to actually rewire his brain so that reading becomes easier, and I know that takes time, but knowing something and believing it are two different things. In grade 2, he read dutifully with me every evening but nothing else. This summer he basically avoided reading altogether. I was beginning to despair.

And then, three weeks ago, he picked up a book and read it. The whole thing. He stayed up until 10pm. I was on my way to bed when I noticed his light on – talk about a shock! He was three pages from the end and so excited when he finished that he couldn’t go to sleep. The next day he read the second book in the series.

Soon, confidence growing daily, he enlisted others. He read out loud on the couch to his brother. (Thomas was really encouraging: “Wow! That was a big word! Good job, Eric!”) He told a friend about his reading, and the friend showed up at our house with the rest 


of the Dog Man series and a new series to start. Unbeknownst to me, Eric devised a reading plan. Dog Man => Bird and Squirrel => Bad Guys => something? => Wings of Fire. Wings of Fire is his ultimate reading goal. He watched his brother read it two years ago and, apparently, has been desperate to get to it *by himself*. He has every book in the series lined up on his bookshelf, ready to go. And until he gets there, he’s planning to read all the time. Which explains the reading at breakfast. And after school.

And here he is in the car in the driveway, reading in the backseat, refusing to get out.img_6445

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a reader! 





20 thoughts on “We have a reader!

  1. I’ve just read Thank you, Mr. Falker with my third graders and shared A Fish in a Tree. I want my gifted readers to empathize with kids like yours who are so smart but are wired differently. Your success story touches my teacher heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Thank You, Mr. Falker – and A Fish in a Tree is on our read aloud list. Thank you for helping your students understand reading difficulties. I think the reason Eric’s friends are so supportive is because their 2nd grade teacher was open about how people learn. (She was the best.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great tribute to Eric! It’s hard to watch our kids struggle, especially with something that is SO important to us! You’re a great mom to have followed the pathway for the testing and commit to so much extra help for him.


    1. Thanks, Melanie. It’s been a journey, for sure. I was shocked by how sad I was when he was first diagnosed; after all, I work with kids who have dyslexia in my classes. Our commitment to helping him read was unwavering. I believe in reading.


  3. High five, Eric! I just met you via this blog, and I’m so thrilled for the doors that reading will open for you.

    Based on my experience, you should know that both reading and paying attention to pancakes will be possible in the near future. Enjoy both!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Wow, wow, wow! What a moment. It’s like the whole world is about to open up for your son. Congratulate him, and his teacher, and his brother (for being a role model), but also congratulate yourselves for your patience and your unwavering belief that your child could do it! What an exciting moment. Celebrate!


  5. Love, love, love this! It goes to show what’s possible with the cooperative effort of so many people, especially Eric, but also you, the teacher, the tutor, the big brother and the book-toting friend. I’m definitely going to look into some of the books that Eric has mentioned. I’m supposedly on a book buying moratorium, but this might just tempt me to cheat a bit! Thanks, Eric and happy reading!! (PS–a tip for Eric–a flashlight under the covers can avoid late night parental detection!)


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