Breakthrough Readers of December

Happy New Year one and all (a little late off the mark…)!

We hope you’re excited for what the year has in store for you. What better way to start a new year than by celebrating the achievements of our secret agents in the last month of 2015?

There were still helicopters flying through the sky along with Santa’s sleigh, on their way to very deserving reading and spelling pros who have successfully completed their spy training and reached the end of the course. Congratulations to you all! Do send us a photo or video of your super cool helicopters in action. We know our secret agents in training are dying to get their helicopter too.

Once again, we’re celebrating our readers’ breakthrough reading moments, taking place slightly earlier in the course. We always say that you should see a remarkable difference in a child’s decoding skills outside the course by lesson 90, and it’s a place where every parent hopes their child will be. After years of struggling, it’s worth celebrating such great progress. So for this month, we sent our breakthrough badges to the following readers.

Max

Before Easyread, Max often guessed at words using the first letter and picture context. His parents helped him with every unfamiliar/difficult word in a story, yet Max would not remember the word next time around.

Max has Auditory Processing Disorder, and found it difficult to break a word down into its various phonemes. Even with extra phonics help in school, Max still found phonics difficult.

He had always done pretty well with reading comprehension, even though he’d miss some words of the story. A slight eye-tracking weakness most likely played a part in Max’s guessing or words or complete omission of them, as the eyes are unable to focus to track each word in its correct order. Guessing when reading is also a sign of a highly visual learner, pairing the shape of a word to a similar formation they’ve seen before, rather than breaking the word down into its individual sounds to figure it out.

After one week of Easyread, Max’s mum already saw that Max was decoding the words rather than guessing. Around lesson 80, Max continued to decode tricky words and was doing much better than he used to. He still enjoyed logging in to do the lessons.

We’re so pleased with all the progress you’ve made Max! It couldn’t have been achieved without all your hard work. Way to go!

Abram

On joining Easyread, Abram was 4 levels behind reading for his grade. He regularly skipped whole words when reading, and found it difficult to track lines of text. He’d often leave off endings of words, or add letters that didn’t exist.

Abram’s parents had tried Hooked on Phonics in Grade 1, where Abram seemed to progress through the lessons, but couldn’t recall what he’d learned outside of the texts provided in the programme.

At lesson 85, Abram was decoding tricky words, and working on a word until he gets it. His mum said “that feels impressive to me.” It does take them a while to figure out/believe with the character decoding that they really are reading about poop transmitters in one of our gadget books!

Abram continues to work on his eye-tracking to strengthen the eye muscles, in the hope that tracking smaller font sizes will continue to become much easier.  His blending of longer, more laborious words also continues to improve with our recommended blending exercises.

If you feel like your child has reached the point of reading take-off and we haven’t included them this month, then do let us know, so we can send their badge out to them for this month.

Each month, we also pick a breakthrough moment that’s really stood out for us. On receiving the following message from Arlo’s mum regarding his end of year report, we were so touched by the progress in Arlo’s decoding that had not only been noted by his teachers, but by Arlo himself.

“We just received Arlo’s end of year school report. He’s still slightly under the standard but has made immense progress, which is great! We thought you’d like to know that the first bit of feedback about reading is this: “Decoding is a strength in Arlo’s reading. When he comes across an unfamiliar word he draws upon a wide range of skills that allow him to read the word correctly”. :-) Arlo also said (in the self-reflection bit) that reading is his favourite subject because he has made so much progress :-)

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This time, we have Arlo sharing his story here:

Hi, I’m Arlo. I’ve been using Easyread for a while now, so here are 3 things I like about it. 

Number 1: The games. The games are really fun. They’re like a normal game but with a reading twist. It’s not like playing a boring reading game, they’re really really really really fun games. 

Number 2: The time length. The length of time is not too long and it’s not too short. It’s just right. It is really good how it’s 15 minutes because that stops it from being long and boring like other reading programs. 

Number 3: The prizes. The prizes are so cool because it’s exciting to receive prizes in the mail and they are awesome. It’s a real boost getting the prizes. They make me want to keep going with my reading. 

I really love reading now. I read a whole book [Gangsta Granny by David Walliams] in the holidays! And I like it how I can enjoy the story and not concentrate on the words the whole time.

Thanks, from Arlo.

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It is going really well – I have been really impressed! We have 4 boys…

It is going really well – I have been really impressed! We have 4 boys doing Easyread at the moment. The youngest is in Year 2 and was really struggling with reading and writing. He has never been formally assessed but he has all the traits of Dyslexia. He is really enjoying Easyread and his class teacher reports that he is now writing in class! When I asked him about his writing he told me that he is writing now as he can now spell and read lots of the words which is fantastic!

The other boys are older – Yr 4, Yr 5 and Yr 6 and all making progress. The Year 6 boy has a Statement and has complex learning difficulties but is able to access Easyread – he loves the games, can tell me all the characters and is happy to have a go independently.

Alison

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Where to get your Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in any healthy diet.

Omega3

Claimed to contribute to a healthy heart, visual and neural development in babies, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and an alleviation in symptoms caused by arthritis, Omega-3 is also said to improve brain function and concentration levels. And that’s the part we’re interested in today.

As the body is unable to produce Omega-3 for itself, we are forced to source the nutrients from naturally-rich Omega-3 foods such as oily fish, grains and nuts and leafy green vegetables.

You can find a full list of Omega-3 rich foods here.

We recommend a healthy amount of Omega-3 in a child’s diet when coupled with our recommended eye-tracking exercises.

- Maddie

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How are they so smart to make reading so easy?!

“I honestly don’t know where we’d be without Easyread.

Within a few days of the trial period, Declan (my 7 year old) asked me, “How did they get to be so smart?” When I asked to whom and what was he referring, he answered, “The people at EasyRead! How are they so smart to make reading so easy??!”

This early success was the boost of confidence he needed to keep going, and he truly looked forward to EasyRead lessons and games. After continuing long enough to see his reading skills carry over to books and reading outside of the program, I can’t express how thrilling that moment was for us all!! He began reading signs when we were in the car, then random words here and there, and then short books. At this point, his reading is so strong that he would be indistinguishable from his peers — or better.

I’m SO thankful for the program and all of the support (which was key as well) that they provided along the way. They’ve been a blessing and helped us through any bumps along the way, to where now that struggle is a distant memory!! I never thought we’d be saying that :-)

I’ve also recommended the program to SO many moms and teachers along the way, as I can’t say enough wonderful things about it and want that same success for everyone/their child.”

High praise from Declan and his mum at lesson 203.

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Case study: Easyread taught Sophie to read and to enjoy the process of reading

Sophie joined Easyread as a seven year-old, resistant to reading and with significant troubles in remembering spellings once the weekly school spelling test was done and dusted. As a result, she was becoming increasingly resistant to reading.

Now, a year later, Sophie graduates the programme with a renewed sense of confidence and love for learning all subjects. She is becoming less shy and more confident every day, and is better able to advocate for herself in the classroom.

We’ll let Sophie’s mum, Sandy, tell you more…

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“Here’s Sophie, curled up in a favourite chair and READING! It is a sight every mom loves to see! ❤️”

What was reading like for Sophie before Easyread?

Sophie guessed at words, and often the guesses were not at all related to the word she was trying to read. Reading (or trying to) was very stressful and she began to avoid it. She, however, does not really remember this. It was a year ago – much has happened since then!

How did Sophie feel when she first started Easyread?

Initially Sophie was a bit apprehensive. She quickly adapted to the rhythm of doing a lesson every day. She loved the positive feedback. Within days her attitude towards reading changed, and our family noticed. Her older siblings really remember this; Sophie, however, doesn’t remember!

What were her favourite parts of the lessons?

The Spotter and Fighter Pilot games; Spelldrive; reading books with great photos (Wacky Weather; Wierd Animals). Prizes – especially from her mom (I added to her stuffed animal collection; but the end results were worth it!)

And the least favourite parts?

Spell Race. Spelling is still a bit hard for Soph. Her memory has improved, and spelling is getting better, but it is not her favorite thing.

Do you remember when you first started to notice things changing?

Within days/a few weeks, Sophie’s attitude towards reading changed. She did not avoid doing the lessons the way she used to avoid reading a book. Within two months we noticed a significant shift in her ability to read words without crazy guessing. After this change continued gradually.

What is Sophie reading now?

Books she is reading now: Thea Stilton or Geronimo Stilton, Katie Kazoo; some other books that are a Grade 2 level. She is in Grade 3, but she enjoys an easier read now and then! She is able to decode words she does not know and can read above grade level, although not as easily. We still have some work to do.

What has Easyread meant for you both?

What has Easyread meant for us? For Sophie – it taught her to read and to enjoy the process of reading! She is not articulating that herself right now, but she is dealing with a bit of program-fatigue. I think if I asked her this at a different time, her response would be more positive. She did enjoy the program overall.

For myself, Easyread helped me realize the importance of positive feedback and to provide it much more liberally than I had previously. I also learned the value of prizes – Sophie got prizes from me in addition to those you sent (I know, I know, that is a lot of prizes) but IT WORKED. Knowing we could go shopping together and she could choose a small toy was the biggest motivator for Sophie, and I am still using this scheme as we work through CAPDOTS [Central Auditory Processing Disorder Online Therapy System]. Everything gets a bit easier with a reward!

Seeing the response Sophie had to Easyread has also motivated me to persevere with the other therapies that are ahead for Sophie. She does indeed have a mild learning disorder, and there will be work to do in the months and years ahead. I see her making progress and catching up quickly – this gives me great hope.

 

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Book recommendation: Nate the Great and Owls in the Family

If you’re looking for a book series to inspire a love of words for your newly confident reader, then 8 year-old Malcolm has a couple of book suggestions for young readers.

Malcolm’s mum says that he now enjoys reading books from the Nate the Great series.

Nate the Great

 

He says he likes them because “Nate the Great is always looking for something and always learns something in the end. And they are fun to read”. The books are about a boy who is a detective and is trying to figure out cases for his friends.

 

We love that Malcolm is continuing to enjoy the spy theme outside of his secret mission training in the programme!

He is also reading the book Owls in the Family at school and he’s really loving that as well.

owls

As always, if your child has really enjoyed reading a book outside of the programme, we’re constantly on the lookout for peer-recommended books! Do get in touch so we can share their review with all our budding readers.

- Maddie

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Just an update on Catherine…

“Just an update on Catherine who went through your programme a few years ago.

Last night she (now aged 9) read a book (her reading group book from school) in 3 hours and would not stop reading it to go to sleep!

The fact she didn’t want to stop, and read the WHOLE book in just 3 hours was brilliant.

The Book was ‘Ottoline and the Yellow Cat‘ by Chris Riddell.

It’s a mixture of text and beautiful artwork. Other parents with children who find reading a challenge may want to have a look at this lovely series of books – there are at least 3!

She loves reading and is doing well in school, and comfortably sitting in the middle reading group.

Anyway, her confidence is definitely down to going through the Easyread programme.”

We love hearing how our Easyread graduates are getting on! You can read Catherine’s case study from three years ago as a nine year-old Easyread star here.

What a difference a different way of learning to read can make.

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It has been such an amazing experience

“I can’t believe that Malcolm is almost done with the program. It has been such an amazing experience. I can’t thank you and your staff enough. When we started in June we were exhausted and frustrated from trying different techniques to improve Malcolm’s reading. Although he seemed to be improving a bit he had lost confidence in himself and he did not enjoy reading.

Your program was recommended to us by one of the parents in Malcolm’s class. Her kids had gone through your program with great success. When I looked into it, it sounded like the perfect program for Malcolm. We did the trial lessons and I was surprised by how much Malcolm enjoyed and responded to them. The fact that they were short was the key to keeping him motivated. There was never any struggle to do Easyread. In fact, he has never missed a day since we started.

There were some areas that were a bit challenging. It took some time for Malcolm to get used to the different levels but that’s his personality. It takes him time to adapt to change. So we did have some tears and frustration during those times. He also got tired of the Mole Wacker and the games at the end. There were some that he enjoyed more than others. The tests and timed games/reading also caused a bit of anxiety but we got through them.

I am very happy to report that Malcolm is now doing amazing. He is reading at his age level and he is really enjoying it. Most of all this has taught him that with some hard work he can succeed at whatever he puts his mind to.

I would recommend Easyread to anyone that is struggling with reading. In fact, I wish they would teach this in schools as part of their reading program. It is such an easy and gentle way of learning how to read.

Thank you so much for everything.”

An Easyread review by Malcolm’s mum

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Book recommendation: The Treehouse Books

When a child reaches the point where their confidence has been boosted with the use of the programme, and they have started picturing the Easyread characters above words when they are not there, they may feel they’re ready to start reading a book outside of the programme.

Isabelle found that The Treehouse Books were the perfect series to help ignite a passion for the world of words.

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Her mum tells us below why she recommends the series by Andy Griffiths:

“When Isabelle started reading the books it took her a few days to read one but the last book of the series only took her half a day. She read these books by herself which really boosted her confidence and she finally understood that she had the ability to read for pleasure and not with me and/or as a lesson. We love this series of books and it was perfect to read when she was doing the Easyread program – both of these increased her love of reading.”

If your child has really enjoyed reading a book outside of the programme, we’re always on the lookout for peer-recommended books! Do get in touch so we can share their review with all our budding readers.

- Maddie

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