I felt privileged to receive a call from a lady with dyslexia in her mid 30s who has been diagnosed with dyslexia at school. She’d been attending a local adult education setting but due to some health issues felt unable to return. She felt she wanted a 1:1 setting where she could learn at her own pace. She also now suffered with a lot of anxiety and she felt I had put her so much at ease when she’d called me 6 months earlier, that my setting would be her place of choice.
It wasn’t difficult for me to make this student at ease, I’ve suffered with my own anxiety issues for many years now. I use to see it as a disability but over the years I’ve recognised it enables me to have more empathy with others.
The reason the lady got in touch was spurred on by the very reason my dad entered adult education too, he knew his kids were going to start school and he knew he wanted to be able to help them read. I’ve always known my dad struggled with literacy and it’s the reason why I chose to initially work as a volunteer in adult education over 15 years ago and this lead me study to become a dyslexia assessor and tutor.
My student mum quickly showed an ability to understand the rules and logic behind the CodeBreakers® programme and her confidence in reading and spelling has very quickly grown. As with many of my students, when shown the rules specifically and guided through how to use them, their ability grows so quickly. I also seem to see students begin to recognise and look for the rules in spelling in the new sounds they learn, once they’ve begun to know what to look for.
Although at CodeBreakers® we use quite a structured cumulative dyslexia programme which enables confidence and success to be gained quickly in reading and spelling, with adult students we can quite often address their own goals and incorporate different tasks. It’s very important that students remain motivated by using spelling rules in the context of their own lives. It’s great to use a synthetic phonics programme but it also needs to be transferred into a student’s own study, outside the tutor session and into work or the classroom, in order for the transitions of learning to take place and for information to stick.
As a mum she naturally wanted to be able read stories with her child. We agreed as part of her developing her sentence writing skills she would write a very short story for her to read to her child.
This week she told me she had read her child’s school reading book with him, as her husband who usually did it, was unable to do so. She was also able to write comments in her son’s reading diary too. I’m not sure she realises she had met one of her goals or not. Sometimes it’s only upon reflections some time later we realise what we have achieved.
However I think her biggest compliment must be from her husband who has already noticed his wife’s confidence growing in reading and spelling.
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