How dyslexia feels, as explained by poet, Sally Gardner

To celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Week, The Guardian published The Box, by poet Sally Gardner, who struggles with reading herself. It’s a great description of the frustration of being stuck without the tools that our society expects.

Every day, we strive to spread the joy and knowledge of our Trainertext, that is tailored to all learning preferences, so that every child and adult may one day be able to read. In the words of Sally Gardner, “The time has come to think outside the box”.

Read the poem in full on The Guardian website here


Sally Gardner, photo sourced from The Guardian website

- Maddie

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50 lessons in and confidence is growing

Just thought I would let you know R and I read his school reader tonight which we haven’t done for ages as I felt it would have been too much together with his daily Easyread.

His reading and fluency have improved so much! It was a book probably aimed at the year below but there is no way he would have been so confident before doing Easyread. So thanks.

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Richard Branson’s Story

Sir Richard Branson is one of the most high-profile struggling readers of our time. When Margaret Rooke set about gathering celebrities to feature in her new book, Creative Successful Dyslexic, it was only natural that the entrepreneur be featured to champion the skill sets of these often highly visual learners.

51Tjv23guEL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ In an honest interview with the author, Branson opens up about his experiences at school, saying that he was generally labelled “a hopeless case.” He goes on to recount many instances where he was “sitting at the back of the class and not knowing what was going on.”

Reading difficulties not only affect literacy-based subjects, but your maths and sciences too. They all require you to be able to read the questions in the first place in order to answer them, as the business tycoon was soon to discover: “I once had an IQ test where I sat looking at the paper and getting nowhere.” Eventually, at the age of 15, Richard Branson decided that school was no longer the place where he was going to excel, and decided to leave. He then began his famous journey from boy journalist, to record seller, to the esteemed billionaire owner of the Virgin Group.

Richard Branson’s tale of success is an inspiring one for school strugglers and aspiring businessman alike. And yet, it is unlikely to be the case for all highly visual learners who struggle with the task of learning to read at school. For some, their love of visual subjects like the arts and sciences will shine through their reading difficulties and they will, indeed, succeed brilliantly. For others, the story is different. Young adults often struggle to find good employment when faced with problems such as filling out job applications.

Here at Easyread, we make it our mission to help children learn to read, and we will not rest until there is an easy path for every child and adult to learn to read and spell. We work on identifying the cause or causes of a child’s reading difficulties, out of a possible 8, and use our guided phonetic reading programme to work alongside their highly visual strengths, whilst tackling any learning weaknesses.

In his interview with Margaret Rooke, Sir Richard Branson says that when he was young, his “memory wasn’t good and [he's] had to force it to get better.” We have found that a poor working memory is something that is quite often seen in a child who is struggling to read. Decoding a word like “exceptional” and blending the sounds back together is naturally a much more difficult task with a limited short-term memory capacity. The system of phonetic characters in our Trainertext has been designed to be easily remembered by readers struggling with short-term memory issues. Their memory is then freed up for the blending of the different sounds.

gashaswasIf you think the causes of your child’s reading struggles may be down to a smaller working memory and the use of sight reading techniques, as we suspect was the case with Richard, then you may take comfort in the fact that there is a system out there that is tailored to making the most of your child’s learning strengths, and able to pinpoint any weaknesses.

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We’ve already noticed a difference in Rory’s reading at home (lesson 63)

We’ve already noticed a difference in Rory’s reading at home which is fantastic since we’re not as far along as 90 lessons [currently at lesson 63]. He picked up his first book for pleasure at the weekend and, although his reading still isn’t fluent and he’s reading out (very) loud, he definitely enjoyed it. He’s now picking up easy reader books most days and is beginning to enjoy reading as well as being read to. This is a massive improvement for Rory and we look forward to the day that he reaches reading take-off and he can enjoy books like we do.


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The curious case of the B and the D

During our initial telephone meetings with parents, we are often told that a child is experiencing a lot of confusion with the letters b and d when reading. And when you take a look at these two letters typed up, you can see why a child may get into a bit of a muddle with the similar shape of these letters, particularly if they are highly visual learners. A and confusion often goes hand in hand with a p and q jumble

The root of this is that the children are sight reading whole words as images, which means the direction of the text is much less important. You will find the children will often switch on/no and saw/was as well. Many can read words back to front (as if in the mirror) and even upside down too!

If you think that they are reading the word ‘cow’ like they see a picture of a cow, then it makes sense that it doesn’t make any difference which way around the word is.

The first key to changing this is to work on decoding words instead of recognising them. Usually, the flipping then goes away. Occasionally, the switching of b and d remains in which case we have a simple process for eliminating it:

The routine we recommend to clearly distinguish between the two letters and their sounds is to get four cards with the B, D, Bear and Duck on them and just cycle through them slowly, with the child concentrating on the correct *sound* for each of the four:


We also get the child thinking of the bear bumping into the flat side of the big “b”.

If you do that for 3-4 days, you will find it clearing up.

If you haven’t already met the bear, duck, pig and queen and all the rest of our Easyread characters, then sign up for our 10 day free trial today to help your struggling reader get their head around the confusing letters and sounds of the English alphabet >

For more tips and tricks to deal with letter flipping, see Fun Game for Letter Flipping Confusion, written by US teacher, Rachael Parlett.

- Maddie

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This does seem too good to be true…

I wanted to comment quickly on Joshua’s progress. This does seem too good to be true, but Josh seems to be doing much better when reading. He’s not done by any means (currently on lesson 70 – Ed), but he has more confidence and is excited about reading. He finishing small books in minutes that would have taken 5 times as long to finish, not to mention many tears and much frustration.

I am trying to stay cautiously optimistic, because we’re in this fight with Joshua for the long haul. I don’t want to let my guard down, but it seems like this program (and more importantly, what it’s taught me about having patience, building confidence, discouraging guessing, and not over studying) is going to succeed.

Thanks for all you do and please continue to stay diligent and keep us on track to achieving the reading success for Joshua in the most efficient and lasting way possible.

- D

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An Easyread mum is loving the latest version of the programme

Just started the new version. Loving the new look! Has just got that much harder, which is also a good thing – good to be slowly pushed along. So far the format of short sessions works SO well. We tried the reading after school sessions and 1.5 hours once a week just ended up being miserable! It’s great getting the little prizes in the post too and the constant positive messages are really good. They also help me stay positive (which sounds silly, but it’s sadly very easy to get uptight, but the lessons are always fun and we always have a laugh).

“A” has even started reading his Dr Who magazines more thoroughly, so fingers crossed some love of reading will eventually happen :-) Thanks

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Easyread graduate Connor goes to college

case study

Back in 2008, Connor and his mum, Hilary, joined Easyread to help 10 year-old Connor work through his reading struggles. Connor was having a hard time with decoding words out loud, and was a stickler for having a good guess at a word or two…

Over the course of 11 months, Connor’s confidence started to grow. He enjoyed the “shortness of the lessons” and he “really looked forward to the prizes”.

Today, Connor gets ready to begin college where he will be studying a BTec Sport diploma to pursue his quest to become a personal trainer, after having received 7 Cs and 2 Ds in his GCSEs.

The team at Easyread would like to wish Connor a huge congratulations and the best of luck in his future studies!

If you’d like to contribute your own little Easyread graduate’s success story, then send us an email at to be featured!

- Maddieresults

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Hannah (8) has been writing a book series!

Hannah has been writing a book series in the last 3 weeks and is onto book 3 today. Each book is around 30-40 pages long!
She is reading many texts fluently and would like to thank you for all of the help in getting her literacy back on track.
I would readily recommend your program to others like Hannah and have done so already, many times.
We will await the delivery of the helicopter in excited anticipation…!

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I did want to let you know that…

I did want to let you know that Easyread was a big help for Angelina, just as it was for her sister. On the other online program we did for schooling there were lessons that timed her reading speed. When she started, she would be at 6-9 words per minute. Since doing easyread, she was up to 61 wpm… much closer to the goal of 90 set for her grade level.
Thanks again,

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