1. Sarah (10 years)
Sarah is a ten year old girl who came for an assessment with Catherine McLennan (Co-Founder of Listen to Read and Sutherland Shire Tutor for Listen to Read).
An early development questionnaire was filled out by Sarah’s mother while she sat in on the assessment for Sarah. This background information highlighted some areas of concern in regards to Sarah’s early development and these areas of concern would certainly have had an effect on her early attempts to read. Sarah had been diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome in one year prior. Wearing the coloured lenses (in her case purple was deemed appropriate) made the words easier to read. She was not skipping words and lines as much and “the white background behind the words did not shimmer and shine as much.”
Sarah’s mothers main concern was that Sarah never finished a book, as she became distracted and lost interest. Mum was worried that poor oral reading and comprehension would impact on other areas of learning.
Catherine administered a reading age test and it was determined that Sarah’s reading age was approximately 8.03 (8 years and 3 months) Given that her chronological age was 10.00 (10 years and 0 months) her mother was keen to begin the program immediately before she fell even further behind.
It was decided that the Home Study Course was the best option as travelling to Engadine from the Inner City once a week for tutoring was too difficult.
Sarah began the program. Catherine made several phone calls to check on her progress. During a Skype call Sarah went through the early lessons with Catherine and Catherine was confident that the Listen to Read program had remediated the gaps in the early parts of the reading process (Consonant Clusters, Bossy ‘e’ and Vowel Blends.)
After a discussion with Kathleen, Catherine determined which lessons needed focus for the following weeks (Prefixes, Suffixes, Bossy ‘e’ and Syllabification).
Three months later, Sarah and her mother again travelled to Engadine for another assessment to determine the improvements which had been made.
Sarah’s reading age had gone up to 10.06 (10 years and 6 months) an improvement of (1.03) 1 year and 3 months in only 12 weeks. Given that Christmas and school holidays occurred in this time and she was not doing the program every day as recommended this improvement was most impressive!
Reading aloud every day, focusing on fluency and comprehension should now become the main focus for Sarah. Bone Conduction Headphones were purchased and worn while Sarah was reading aloud to someone in the family.
2. Ryan (14 years)
Ryan came from a broken home and was struggling with his reading at school. He was being ridiculed by his classmates and his father realised that Ryan needed some kind of miracle so he went in search of answers. He felt that the school system had let his son down and that the unfortunate family circumstances had possibly added to Ryan’s reading problems.
He knew that he had to help his son and that he had to act fast or Ryan’s opportunity to learn to read confidently might be lost forever. He heard about the Read and Exceed program and Catherine from a workmate and immediately booked Ryan in for lessons.
When Catherine first tested Ryan she found that his auditory memory was severely impaired. His self- esteem was poor and he became quite frustrated during the assessment process. His reading age was determined to be 7.09 years!
After only four weeks his reading age had improved by 13 months.
This improvement continued over the next few months and soon he was reading competently and in line with his age. The same classmates who had made fun of him were now encouraging him and were amazed at his improvement.
3. Kay (adult client)
Kay, an adult client of Read and Exceed, had struggled with reading for years after having left school at age fifteen without ever learning. She told Catherine that she would break out in a cold sweat whenever she went out for dinner with friends. She was always fearful that someone would find out the secret that she had been trying to hide for years.
When handed the menu in a restaurant, she would pretend to read it carefully then ask her friends what they had decided on. She would then say “I think I’ll have the chicken, it does sound nice.” She hoped that she would like what her friend had ordered.
Other times she would say that she had left her glasses at home and ask the teller in the bank to fill out a form for her. She had a whole range of strategies that she employed over the years.
After a few lessons with Catherine she made incredible progress. At the end of the course she broke down in tears saying that Read and Exceed had given her back her confidence and that she was looking forward to reading to her grandchildren.