All About Reading and dyslexia: have you ever wondered if AAR works for students who struggle with this learning challenge?
Marianne Sunderland is mom to eight children, seven of whom have dyslexia. She is also the author of Dyslexia 101: Truths, Myths, and What Really Works.
As a trained Orton-Gillingham practitioner, Marianne designs courses specifically for parents of dyslexic children, and is a sought-after speaker on the topic of teaching reading at homeschool conferences.
With all of her experience, you’d hardly think that Marianne would be in the market for reading curriculum, but she is an avid All About Reading user.
All About Reading and All About Spelling are structured programs with a carefully planned sequence. Why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to? Having the lessons, stories, and activity sheets readily available makes the job of teaching much easier, even for an expert like Marianne.
With seven dyslexic children and one traditional learner, Marianne has a unique story to tell. I love to get these peeks into other family’s lives to see how they homeschool and what is important to them!
Here’s a common scene from my household:
My son (age 7): “Mom! Can we do school?”
Me: “It’s Saturday, Buddy. We don’t do school on Saturdays!”
My son (with dramatic emphasis): “Awwww. Bummer!”
How far our family has come from our early days teaching our seven kids with dyslexia to read!
Those were long, hard days before we understood that our kids’ reading struggles were caused by small differences in the wiring of their brains. What a relief to learn that our kids’ struggles didn’t mean that they were willful and lazy and that we weren’t the worst parents in the world!
I’m pretty sure that we’ve tried every method and reading program available over our past 20 years of homeschooling. If you’ve been teaching kids with dyslexia to read for any amount of time, you know that traditional methods of teaching reading don’t work.
I always knew that our kids with dyslexia were bright, even though they struggled mightily with the written word, both reading and spelling. What I didn’t know way back then was that the reason most reading programs don’t work for dyslexic kids is that they are using the wrong methods.
During those years of slow, frustrating progress teaching our kids with dyslexia to read, I began to research learning, reading, and dyslexia—anything that might point us in the right direction. We tried all kinds of programs, supplements, and exercises in the hopes that their dyslexia would be “cured.” Turns out dyslexia is genetic—dyslexic kids become dyslexic adults.
What I learned was that instead of looking for a miracle cure, I needed to look for the way in which my kids could learn to read. Enter All About Reading!
There is no magic in the All About Reading program, but there sure seemed to be miracles when we began using it three years ago!
Until we discovered AAR, it seemed like all of our reading instruction leaked out of our kids’ ears during the night. I would teach a reading lesson. My child would understand and apply the rule. But the next day it was as if he had never heard that lesson! My kids could read a word on one line and in the very next sentence, forget the word entirely.
The hands-on, multisensory aspect of AAR has made an amazing impact on our kids’ ability to remember what they have learned. Reading still doesn’t come as easily for my dyslexic kids as it does for my one traditional learner. But the games and hands-on activities are fun, and that helps motivate them to push through their difficulties.
I cannot tell you how many tears of frustration have been shed in our home over the years as we tried one reading program after the other that just didn’t work.
First I was annoyed. “Why can’t you remember this?!” and “Pay attention!”
Then the kids were upset. I had no idea that they really were trying!
No one likes to do things they aren’t good at. But having fun and being able to experience success day by day is very motivating, not to mention much more enjoyable. Kids are almost always willing and eager to do things that are fun!
We started using All About Reading three years ago, and now my kids:
And as for me…
Marianne’s story highlights the power of multisensory curriculum when teaching children who learn differently. After Marianne discovered curriculum that works with the way her children learn best, they remembered the concepts, they were motivated to do the lessons, and their reading ability improved dramatically.
Another thing stood out to me as well: Marianne’s tenacity! I know how hard it is to teach one child with dyslexia, and she has seven! I appreciate the fact that she shares her hard-won wisdom so freely with the homeschool community.
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Marianne!
Did you enjoy Marianne’s story? Read stories from more Real Moms, Real Kids.
How about you? Have you tried program after program hoping to find a miracle cure for your struggling reader?