Tracy Keith

Martinsburg, Pennsylvania

I am the mother of a nine-year-old third-grade boy. He attended regular public school through the end of second grade. He showed signs of dyslexia during that time, but the school did not recognize it or have any special program to teach reading to this type of child. Otherwise, he was a very talented child (and) actually tested above his age in areas of math, reasoning, and artistic/spatial. But, by the end of second grade, he was beginning to withdraw and become resentful to the school situation. Also, he was reading on a first-grade level (and had achieved only) three months of growth during the whole year, even with Title I services.

So, we changed to Cyber Charter School to work more directly with him. It became apparent to me right away that more time one-on-one was not enough and that phonics was more complex than I thought. So, I began to do much research about dyslexia and what type of program would help him to reach his potential. I just could not bear to continue and see him be illiterate. Well, after many, many hours of searching on the Internet, I found Reading Horizons. It offered all (of) the things that were important: Orton-Gillingham style, systematic, etc. I spoke with Shantell, who, amazingly, has taught many children with this program – not just selling it, but has had firsthand experience even with her own son!

We started this program with a first-grade reading level of 17 WPM on November 3. By December, he was reading at 50 WPM and changed to the second-grade level. On January 23, he read at 62 WPM on the second-grade level. Truly amazing! He could not spell very well on even five-letter words, and now, on the one game in the software, he spelled hibernate.

He is not done with the program yet. The teachers that we work with through the Cyber Charter School are amazed and would like to use this program with other students. We are using the Discover Intensive Phonics at Home software only. I sometimes supplement some of the worksheets that are available online for free.

What a difference from the constant prodding of before. It teaches both of us. And since I sit back and observe every lesson, I can then reinforce it any time it applies. He went from not even wanting to read easy readers to us reading chapter books together. This is better than I could have imagined.