Doris Williams, a former adult student at The Dyslexia Resource Center, shares her story to raise awareness of the real impact of illiteracy.
I wish they had taught me. Oh, there were some who tried, like my second grade teacher. She noticed something wasn't quite right.
One day, I was playing at recess and my second-grade teacher called me over to sit by her. She asked me to recite my ABC’s and count to one hundred. I can't remember how I did, or what else we talked about, but the next thing I knew I was being transferred downstairs back to the first grade.
Oh how I wish I had had some special teacher who saw my struggles, recognized it and helped me. But again, unfortunately, I didn't. I don't think any of my teachers knew I was illiterate, except my second-grade teacher.
After a while, I just went through the motions. By the time I was in high school and about to graduate, I can remember sitting in my class, and I zoned out. I was daydreaming, and this deep feeling of depression came over me.
I knew I wanted to do something important, but I had no idea what. Simply put, I just didn't have the knowledge nor the education. It’s frustrating wanting to do something and not knowing how to start or what to do. All my classmates were getting all excited, going on with their lives, and going off to college. I wanted to cry right then and there. I got more depressed and everything went downhill after high school.
Fast forward 35 years...
After years of poor choices and minimum-wage jobs, Doris went back to school for massage therapy; however, she couldn't pass the written exam to get her certification. So, she went to a counselor and found out she had ADHD.
The research she did online after receiving the news informed her of the correlation between dyslexia and ADHD, which is when the light bulb came on.
That was when I knew why I struggled with reading and sought help from The Dyslexia Resource Center. Everything Tracey taught me was valuable because it was what I had been searching for a long time. I thank God because through my adversity, God showed me how to take my pain and make it my greatest success story. I have always been and shall always be an overcomer.
Doris received tutoring from the Dyslexia Resource Center for 18 months where she learned how to put letters and sounds together so that words started to make sense.
a Dyslexia Resource Center Mom and Tutor shares her family’s story
“Mom, can I read another chapter today?” I never thought I'd hear those words! My son asked me that question a few weeks ago. Wow! I have to admit I had to hold back the tears. Of course, my answer was a resounding yes! I was so excited about sharing it with his tutor; these milestones are celebrated by all of us.
So how did we get here? I first heard about the Dyslexia Resource Center when my son was struggling with reading in 2nd grade. I had identified specific problems and was searching for ways to help him. My husband and I were very concerned. I'd heard of Orton-Gillingham reading programs, but I didn't really know much about it.
Mac became a student in the Dyslexia Resource Center Reading Clinic in 2015 and his progress was amazing. He worked hard and the instruction really worked. I wanted to know more! I read as much as I could find about the Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching reading. The Dyslexia Resource Center offered some training sessions and I attended those. I loved it! The OG approach made so much sense to me and I could see it working for my child.
What happened next? I completed the OG Associate level training course last summer and I'm currently working on a practicum and tutoring hours to complete certification. I’m a tutor at the Dyslexia Resource Center and I absolutely love tutoring. This approach is multisensory, structured, sequential, systematic and cumulative. It is cognitive, synthetic and analytic, and it’s repetitive to build automatically. The instruction is direct and explicit, diagnostic and prescriptive, and emotionally sound. These are the principles of Orton-Gillingham and it's how we teach struggling students to read.
The relationships we've made since becoming a part of the Dyslexia Resource Center are so important to us. Mac and I are both learning. Mac continues to make progress in his reading, spelling and comprehension. I am learning more and improving my tutoring skills. Working with struggling readers has been a tremendously positive experience for me. The team at the Dyslexia Resource Center is great. We learn from each other and the children all the time.
Former Dyslexia Resource Center Student & Recipient of Daisy Power Project Scholarship
I chose this picture simply because two months ago you would have never found her like this. My daughter Ashlynn has always struggled with reading. In fact, we bumped heads when it came to homework that had anything to do with reading or sight words.
At the end of May, she was tested at school on her reading and scored a "low 6" (beginning Kindergarten) on her Developmental Reading Assessment even though she was completing her Kindergarten year.
As a Girl Scout, Ashlynn participated in the Daisy Power Project. Through the assessments and resources provided by the Dyslexia Resource Center, we learned about their summer program.
Ashlynn completed the 5-week program, while continuing work at home. When school started in August, I was somewhat anxious to get Ashlynn's beginning of year DRA results since I knew she had made progress but just didn't know how much. Between May and August, she went from "6" to "20" (mid-2nd grade) reading level.
She now loves to read full chapter books. She will sit down on her own and read 50 pages of her book without any problems. The best part is, she enjoys it! I want to thank everyone for all the help and making this possible!
Former Dyslexia Resource Center Morning Reading Clinic Student
Following is an actual letter from a student's parents:
This is Ariah (pictured to the right), at age 10. She is dyslexic. She has struggled with reading for years.
She has called herself stupid, dumb, and unable to learn. She felt hopeless, and her father and I cried because we couldn't fix this for her. We prayed for something or someone to come and help.
Enter the Dyslexia Resource Center and Laura Rogers (Morning Clinic Director). After one session at the Dyslexia Resource Center, Ariah had confidence and hope in the future! She is proud of where she is.
I have cried tears of joy watching her read signs, books, and texts on my phone. Hope is a beautiful thing and worth every penny we have spent on Reading Clinic. The staff there is unbelievably amazing. Ariah gets so excited every Tuesday and Thursday! We are permanent fans!!