In an earlier blog, I recommended that you look at “Children of the Code” as a reference for gaining a deeper understanding of dyslexia and its human costs. I really hope that you’ve taken a look at this wonderful resource. One of the best treatments in this outstanding series of documentaries summarizes the often-tragic human consequences of reading failure that begin with the failed kid being very ashamed of themselves. Every teacher and every clinical professional that is dedicated to helping these children understands that reading failure, with rare exception, has consequences for the kid that extend far beyond the classroom, and that stem from the fact that such a girl or boy is a self-identified academic bust. It is just not very self-reassuring to be a Red Bird, or to find yourself being given special attention in reading classes — which is not high on the average child’s list of ‘fun activities’!
In the same way, almost every dedicated educator and professional has also had the joy of seeing a kid break out from being a non-reader, to rapidly spurting ahead to achieve grade-level or above-level reading proficiency. The impacts on the psyche of such a kid are literally life-changing. If you want to witness what I’m talking about, go to Scientific Learning and see several young men and women who have recently undergone this transformation. As you listen to them, put out your antennae to see how their new-found reading success has changed their perceptions of THEMSELVES. These young men and women have evolved from being ASHAMED, to being PROUD of themselves. Helping a kid break out in their academic achievement by training their brain to master the language skills that critically support reading — then to master reading itself — is a wonderful happening, for all concerned!
One final comment: The video at this website is a small part of a longer video that documents consistent break-outs in reading for the children of a class of Fast ForWord trainees in Bartlett High School, in Anchorage, Alaska. This video was produced by a reading teacher, Karen Kennedy, in an effort to show other teachers and administrators in Alaska that this program resulted in unprecedented reading gains in her special classrooms. In the video, you can see that the great gains that were achieved were almost certainly attributable to the synergisms betwen FFW AND an OUTSTANDING special reading teacher!