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Reading On Par After Five Months

When she tried to teach her son to read, Janey Nieboer discovered that he would frequently reverse his letters and his numbers. This is their story:

As a mother, it is difficult to watch your child become so frustrated with school and then become so very angry when he just can’t seem to perform well, even know you know he is a bright youngster. However, after just a few short months following the Edublox program we have a young man that has made great gains!

Let me start at the beginning to give you a picture of Alex. Alex is all boy! Alex fell and broke his left arm when he was around three years old. Before then, I was sure that he would be left handed, but with his arm in a cast he quickly learned how to eat with his right hand. Even now at eleven, he interchanges his hands depending on the tasks, although he writes with his right hand. Initially, he seemed confused as to whether or not he was right handed. He is more set in his handedness than before after Edublox.

Even before he started school, I knew that he had above average intelligence. However, when I tried to teach him to read, I discovered that he would frequently reverse his letters and his numbers. He showed confusion and often frustration when he couldn’t get it right and often wanted to quit and go play. He had difficulties with some sounds too. Having been dyslexic myself, I knew that we were going to experience some frustration until his learning process would one day click for him. Still, I hoped that he would outgrow this reading difficulty very quickly.

I home schooled Alex and he learned well with the one on one attention. I knew how to motivate him to learn. He was a verbal learner and could pick things up easily. However I knew that he would not have survived in a traditional school because of his reading problem. I tried many phonic programs thinking that would help him, but he was still reversing his letters and numbers consistently and reading extra words and missing others. At this point, I had his eyes checked to make sure that he could see properly. He needed glasses, but that didn’t help him to see the directions of the letters and numbers correctly. Reading was a chore to him and he hated having to read. By the third grade, although verbally his skills were above average, he could not read on a first grade level. We worked harder and I sent him to reading camp in the summer of the third grade. Still, not very much progress. He was also falling behind in his math facts and I was more than a little concerned.

In fourth grade I was seeing very little progress. By the middle of the fourth grade I started doing research on dyslexia. I knew that I needed help because all that I tried to do for him was not producing much progress. I knew that I didn’t want to send him to a traditional school for help because I was afraid that he would get labeled as slow and would not be challenged intellectually. Being a former certified teacher myself, I knew that teachers had to deal with too many students to make a true individual assessment of his needs and a proper plan of action. Therefore, I started to do research on dyslexia. Doing this research, I ran across Edublox and hope was given!

In mid April, toward the end of fourth grade, we started Edublox. After I read The Right to Read, I knew that I had made the right decision! He experienced quick success in doing the blocks and that encouraged him especially when he could beat me and his dad in remembering the patterns. He liked marching with the directional chart. Unbelievably, after only a couple of weeks, I could already see a difference in his school work. He was calmer, he finished his work quicker and his attention span was greater. He didn’t seem as frustrated. Prior to beginning Edublox, we had him tested and he was reading between the 2nd and the 3rd grade level. After a month into the program, I was tempted to test him again as I was convinced his reading had improved greatly! The only reason I didn’t was because he doesn’t do the testing well, feeling frustrated. He normally reacts by getting up a million time to go the bathroom! I just didn’t want to put him through the testing again so soon. So, we continued with the Edublox until July even though school was out and then the cares of the summer got into the way.

School started back in August, but as we were hit with the hurricanes in Florida, Edublox got put away until January. I was tempted not to start it up with him again, as I knew that he was really different and I felt that he had improved enough to survive in school. He was reading The Boxcar Children by now on his own, and he liked to read. However, I suspected that he was not quite on grade level as he was having difficulties reading The Hardy Boys on his own. Because I knew that he may survive in a traditional school, I also knew that he wouldn’t thrive. I felt we could make more gains and so I determined to start Edublox up again. By January, my husband and my schedule had settled enough so that we could begin Edublox again. We do an hour a day in two 30 min. sections. It is only because that works wells with my husband doing the first 30 minutes before he goes to work and then I do the rest sometime during the day.

Alex is taking his achievement tests this week and I know that there will be a great deal of gain. I hope he will be off the charts! He is now able to do much of his school work independently of me, and he can do several days of school work in one day, especially if he knows that he can have the rest of the week off! *grin* (We have had the opportunity to go on short field trips if his work is done first, so he works for long periods of time to get two days of school into one!) He is now reading The Box Car Children in one day’s sitting (in just a couple of hours! It is amazing that he will even sit still to read a book in one sitting!) He can almost read The Hardy Boys on his own, having trouble with only a few archaic words. He if far more fluent in his oral reading too! He actually loves math too and does well “seeing” the math. As I mentioned this week as he is taking his achievement tests they are no big deal to him at all. He feels good about them. He has finished all of them before time so far (except spelling, which we haven’t started yet with the Edublox system). He has had the opportunity to go back and check his work and has felt very pleased with himself. Most importantly, he hasn’t asked to get up a million times to go to the bathroom either! He is a different young man now and I am so thankful for what Edublox has done for him! It is worth it to keep going with the program for at least a year!

Janey Nieboer
St. Cloud,

Update: Below are Alex’s achievement test scores, after doing Edublox for 5 months. His reading is now on par, so he is now working on spelling.