Dyslexic literature student at Cambridge University explains her love of books

by Sarah Forrest || 07 Feb 2017

In a fascinating recent article, British student Holly Platt-Higgins describes how she didn’t pick up a book to read on her own until the age of 14. And yet, how 6 years later, she studies Great Books at one of the finest institutions in the world: Cambridge University.

I won’t spoil the article for you – please read it for yourself – but loved her closing quote:

I accepted that I approach language in a different way to other people, but that that doesn’t make me any less worthy of a relationship with it. I think that’s when I stopped caring about being dyslexic…

Click to read the full article: https://www.varsity.co.uk/features/11861

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Breakthrough Readers of December 2016

Sarah Forrest || 31 January 2016


Before Easyread, Nathaniel was delayed in his speech. He had tubes to drain ear fluid when he was 4 and had speech therapy starting a year before that. By 5th Grade, he was still behind in grade level but engaged well in the classroom. He had accommodations set up for him to allow him to read out loud otherwise he could not comprehend what he read. He had to use his finger to read otherwise he would skip words or lines. He would guess words based on the first letter, or insert words that weren’t even there. And his spelling was, as his mother put it, horrible! Even though he aced his weekly spelling tests, his writing was illegible. His parents were so frustrated by the school’s lack of helpful insight, and that no one could understand him. When they found our website, they were amazed to read an exact description of their son! And to final get an explanation for WHY Nathaniel was struggling.

A few months into Easyread, Nathaniel had reached the top level in the reading assessor internal to the program. He was reading longer stories fluently and enjoying the context even. He had mastered simple decoding and was progressing to good comprehension. A life change is in the works for wonderful Nathaniel!


Yuri could not remember his letters before starting Easyread, though some basic words like ‘son’ or ‘dog’ he could recall from memory. If asked to write a g, he would maybe attempt a d or p. He was strong in math, and loved Lego – he had good visual-spatial skills in that way. But with English as a second language, he was very sensitive about struggling and easily frustrated when he couldn’t do anything.

Around Lesson 180, we heard the following:

“In the last month, Yuri’s reading is so good I’m amazed! I’m so happy that he can read, even slowly. He bought his own book yesterday!”


Before Easyread, Marquez exhibited the classic signs of what we call “Optilexia”, or whole word sight-reading. When his parents stumbled across our website, they couldn’t believe how we were exactly describing their son! His spelling was horrendous; his reading was lagging, choppy, and very inconsistent especially with short words. He flipped the beginning sounds of words, struggled to decode, and yet could read long words without a problem by sight-recognition. In his homeschooling lessons, he was advanced in math and science, but needed to be read to in language-heavy subjects like social studies or language arts.

A few months later, we heard the following report:

“Thank you thank you! We are forever grateful! Marquez just picked up his first chapter book of his choice, to read for pleasure, and hardly gets stuck on any words (well, it’s Harry Potter so needs help with some of the more magical ones 🙂 ) and we owe it to this program! We recommend it to everyone we know who has a child struggling to read. Thank you so much!”

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Breakthrough Readers of November 2016

Sarah Forrest || 24 Jan 2017

November was a brilliant month for kids on Easyread, like Liam, on the left.


Before Easyread, Liam was tested in Year 4 as having a reading age of Year 2. He has visual memory skills, but low auditory memory skills. He had just received a D in school for reading, and it was starting to affect his self confidence. His parents hired a tutor and read with him every day. Improvements, however, were slow.

At Lesson 90, we heard the following update:

“I have been in contact with Liam’s teacher and she has noticed a difference in Liam’s reading, especially comprehension. Liam is even participating in discussions about books! He is very proud of himself.


Before Easyread, Adam could reading short words correctly one day, but not on the next day… almost as if he had never seen them. He could use context clues to figure out a story, but individual words out of context flummoxed him. His parents tried a blue overlay, which stopped the words from jumping but wasn’t the entire answer.

We heard an update from his mother that things are now going really well! His eye-tracking and blending have improved, he’s started to read some words fluently, and is now decoding words outside of the program. Fantastic!


Before Easyread, Amelia couldn’t seem to hear the sounds in words when trying to spell, so her own writing was very difficult to decipher. She was below average in reading as well but was willing to work hard to make progress.

At Lesson 60, we heard the following:

“We had parents evening last night and I was pleased to see in Amelia’s books and hear from her teacher that there have been improvements in her spelling and ability to self-correct – already! Thank you, thank you, and thank you! I have been talking about the programme in school and will continue to do so as Amelia progresses further.”

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Dyslexic Captcha Experiment

by Sarah Forrest || 19 Jan 2017

A group of developers and dyslexia advocates in India banded together to create a captcha campaign aiming to show people what it might be like to have reading difficulties, especially those with a visual cause.

They displayed their captcha to 1 million people, the majority of whom could not decipher it and clicked the refresh button to get a new captcha option. In the process, they were given an explanation of what it might be like for children who struggle to read daily due to reading difficulties.

You can read more about the full experiment, and see some samples, here:

Captcha Campaign Shows People What It’s Like To Be Dyslexic

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Breakthrough Readers of October

The holiday season seems to slow down everything (not just the mail service!) and we are a couple months behind on our breakthrough readers… but they are still rolling in as children reach new heights with their literacy.


Before Easyread, Dillon was struggling with his fluency, and an irregular words. His spelling was similarly lagging for his age. He was having one-to-one lessons at school but not making much progress there.

At Lesson 89, we heard this report from his mother:

“Dillon is still enjoying his lessons every day. He does very well with the book Jack and the Seal. I only sometimes have to remind him that he has to decode the words. He enjoys the story and asks me lots of questions. He seems to understand more of what he is reading!“


Before Easyread, Evelyn had trouble decoding words and often misread easy words she had previously been able to read. She had extra instruction at school because she was below grade level. She used Lexia at home and at school, but was becoming frustrated that she was still struggling to read. She really wants to read chapter books… but it was proving too hard to decode difficult or new words.

At Lesson 63 we heard this report from her mother:

“I am very pleased with Evelyn’s progress. We just received a progress report from the literacy intervention teacher at her school. Since she started in mid-August, she has increased her fluency from 50 words per minute to 73! She commented that her reading pace continue to improve every day…”


Before Easyread, Theo was learning to read by recognising the word shape, rather than by sounds and using phonics skills. Letter sounds and blends just didn’t seem to be heard by Theo, or understood.

As of Lesson 100, his mother reported:

“We’re still really enjoying it, thank you! Theo is still keen to get going on the lesson in the evening, and he had a cracker of a lesson tonight… He had a lot of confidence tonight, and perhaps that is also as he’s approaching the 100th lesson. We are planning a small celebration to mark the milestone. He’s asked for a dinner out and a new set of sheets and duvet cover. Unusual request for an 8 year old boy (the linen, not the dinner!).”

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There comes a point where you are prepared to do anything to give your child a chance

“We are certainly seeing progress both inside and outside the program. We always have the subtitles on the TV to expose her to more words, but recently she has started reading the occasional word out loud!

I should have enrolled her sooner as it was recommended to us by a friend a year ago, but I was put off by the price, so continued to work on assorted other strategies. My daughter was continuing to make slow progress with other methods, but not at the speed at which she is now progressing. She had fallen to about 5 years behind her peers, so we bit the bullet.

We still can’t access any funding as nobody can agree on a diagnosis for her, but there comes a point where you are prepared to do anything to give your child a chance. At this point I am glad we took the risk.

She likes the prizes which provide good motivation.”

10 year-old Philippa’s mum at lesson 50


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You have made a real difference in her life

The system has been fabulous for Annalise and we are extremely appreciative of the system you have devised and all the effort you and Maddie put into the programme.  Annalise actually secured a B for reading in her end of year report with outstanding effort.
You have made a real difference in our daughter’s life and confidence as she now goes up to the big school next year with her head held high. Thank you.
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I can’t tell you how much she has enjoyed doing Easyread

“Just to say a big thank you for sending Tilly the helicopter. As you can imagine she is thrilled with it and has already mastered flying it!

Tilly has made great progress with her reading through the system and the whole programme has helped her get into a really good work routine. I can’t tell you how much she has enjoyed doing Easyread and even this morning she said “I cant believe that I have finished it”.

We are now focusing on her spelling which has already improved and with SATS just around the corner we are also looking at practise papers so that the whole thing is not a shock for her.

I will certainly recommend the programme to others and I know that Tilly was keen to show her teacher how it works!

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and enjoyable New Year.
Many thanks
Lucy (mum of 10yo Tilly)”

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No progress… then turned a huge corner!

I thought we hit a roadblock as we weren’t feeling like there was progress. And, Andrew was fighting the lessons for about a week. In particular, he didn’t like the reading section. Of course, that’s probably the most important.

But, he’s turned a corner!

Last week, he was moved up two reading levels at school. And, his is again pretty happy to do the Easyread lessons. I think getting extra affirmation at school was helpful. I do think he’s selected an Easyread book that is “easy” for him. But, it goes quickly and he is not fighting doing it now.

Last thing – the prizes are great. He was THRILLED to finally get a new codeword. Things are moving forward positively. Thanks!

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