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Learning How to Read in a Year

Nearly a year ago Little M. went to a dyslexia assessment centre in London to do the dyslexia test. The results were overwhelmingly negative and a huge blow for him, even though he never said anything about the sadness he felt. The stress of that day left his body and spirit on the train back home when he started crying out of the blue.

He was diagnosed with profound dyslexia, and according to the assessor, he should be in a special dyslexia school. Of course, she didn’t put any of that in the official report since the councils in the UK have no money for kids with educational difficulties and schools in the UK minimalize their resources to accommodate our kids.

Before homeschooling, the Little M. was in an alternative school that took very little notice of his learning hardships and difficulties even though we flagged that up to his class teacher on several occasions for over a year. In fact, it took the class teacher a year to get SENCO involved in our discussion. Teachers should stop playing Gods in our kid’s education especially if the knowledge they have on the subject is minimal.

When we decided to home school, Little M. was in class three and already aware that there was something “wrong” with him (his words, not ours). Many months later he told us that he felt stupid at school and started to believe that he was stupid because he couldn’t read while many of his school friends were progressing with lightning speed (in his mind at least).

After the dyslexia assessment, we purchased two (Reading Eggs and Nessy) online programs for Little M. to follow as part of our homeschooling curriculum and we actively started looking for a dyslexia tutor. A friend of mine from Little M’s school recommended an amazing tutor, who previously had helped her children struggling with dyslexia.

To cut a long story short, Little M. has been seeing P. for one-on-one tutorials every week for the past eleven months. I think we started with sessions every two weeks, but we quickly moved to weekly lessons.

Last week P. did the reading test for Little M. to measure his progress. After 11 months of tutoring him and of our hard work at home, his reading age jumped by two years and ten months, which means that his reading age at the moment is at 8,6 years old. P. told us that in her 30+ years of working with dyslexic kids, she never had a student, who would progress at such a rate as Little M. has.

We’re so very proud of him, his achievement, and his hard work. He is a perfect example that schooling can be individual, based on the child’s interests and focused on what the educators feel will benefit the child in the future. In case of Little M., and I can bet it’s very similar with other kids who struggle with dyslexia, we needed to play to his strengths to help him grow his confidence in himself and his fantastic brain. Confidence building is an ongoing process for us. It is not easy for Little M. to believe in himself.

As parents, we know that he needs a strong sense of self-confidence in his achievements to be able to succeed in life.

Little M. works hard, very hard and this time last year he struggled to read highly illustrated storybooks, he had no way of recognizing words, sounds and syllables and now he is perfectly comfortable reading Harry Potter on his own.

It has never been easy for him, but he is a little warrior and thanks to his focus, determination, and hard work he is catching up with his peers. We wish for the education officials around the world to finally open their eyes and stop obsessing about useless tests, give all the kids equal opportunities to grow and make education fun. Can you imagine the potential that kind of approach would release in children? Empowering children, not scorekeeping, should be our aim.

If you are interested in my children stories or speculative fiction visit my Wattpad page

Filed under: Polish Gal in London, Writing

About the Author

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Magda Olchawska is an award-winning independent filmmaker, writer and screenwriter. She writes not only about making films and writing but also about financially independent and sustainable lifestyle. Her current projects include Ecotopia Universe and School Runs.

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