"This is the most thorough program I have been in. It is repetitive in the most useful way for a dyslexic, but not annoying. I like how concrete, practical, and intuitive the rules are. I would love to teach it someday, if I am blessed to finish. One of the most important things about this program is that it provides hope for a dyslexic. I only wish I could have started this as a child.
"Even after the first few sessions, I was able to see how it was affecting my ability to remember in a positive way. I could remember names, words, recognize street names as I was driving, and my ability to file at work greatly improved. At this point, it has even affected my reading, especially with knowing the sight words. My cadence has improved because I am not thinking about those words anymore. Understanding the importance of the sight words vs. rules for regular words has been immeasurable.
"I realize now that even phonics is too advanced for us. It is extremely difficult to understand. I appreciate that your program breaks it down for us to an even smaller level; breaks it down to baby steps, so we can understand. [phonemic awareness] I feel like everyone should learn to read this way, but I do understand that some don't need it. I really want to learn it completely and then teach it, because someday I may have a child that will have dyslexia and I do not want them to wait until they are 25 to get this understanding.
"I don't feel trapped in this program. Often times when I was in English class or even in special ed, I felt very trapped. We would do all this work for the week and at the end there would be this big spelling test and I knew I was going to fail and it was going to be horrible. With this program, the element of a test and all of the pressure associated with it is out of the way; it is fluent. A fluent conversation of, 'This is how you sound out words. Oh, you didn't know that? Let's go over it again.' It's not, 'Oh, you're wrong.' Because with dyslexics we are always wrong... or at least we always think we are wrong. I think about how a level playing ground of understanding has been created in this program between the tutor and myself. I don't feel this hierarchy. No more, 'Billy knows this, but you don't...what is the matter with you?' I'm 25 and I've heard that all my life. The Barton system, is beyond a breath of fresh air. It is my saving grace.
"I remember when I was sent to my aunt's house because she was a teacher and my mom thought maybe she could teach me to read. So, my mom enrolled me in my aunt's class and she was teaching me like everyone else. I remember my aunt had this horrible way of putting up the grades after every assignment. She would post your name and the grade that you got on the board. So out of 32 names, mine was always at the bottom with a big F. I remember just how horrible that was, every single week. I love my aunt and that just made it worse. I was then put into special ed and even in there I was at the bottom. People with autism and other disabilities could read better than me. What's worse is I can comprehend and understand the scope of their disabilities and knew that I was not like that... even the students who had ADD. But, once they sat down everyone could still read better than me. I began to think, 'I can't to do this. Perhaps I was just not meant to learn how to read.'
"Now, I am 25 years old and to find a program like this... it is just amazing. I have seen so much progress in myself, but in the back of my mind I think, 'It's going to stop working... everything does.' But, I am going to keep working. I just want to read and write and do the things I want in order to function in life. I feel that this program is not only going to give to me, but will allow me to give to the next generation. This is true wealth."
~Bryce, Age 25
My 16 year old son was diagnosed with dyslexia in the 5th grade and this is his story.
In preschool, Scottie had difficulty learning his ABC's, in kindergarten, he had difficulty learning the phonetic sounds of the letters. Beginning in kindergarten, Scottie began after school tutoring. Between kindergarten and first grade, I enrolled him in an auditory processing course over the summer, attempting to get him ready to learn to read in first grade. Sadly, there was little improvement.
In first grade, the class began to learn to read. The teacher sent home short stories that the student was required to read aloud to the parent. Scottie was only able to read sight words. Any unfamiliar words, he'd just guess at, based on the story, he couldn't sound the words out. Weekly spelling tests were just a task at memorization. He'd get A's on tests, but if asked to spell the same words the following week, he'd have no idea how to spell them. After school tutoring continued.
Second grade was more of the same. After school tutoring continued.
Each year, I was told by teachers "boys are slower to develop than girls", "every child develops at their own pace", "he'll catch up by the 3rd grade" and I accepted their professional opinions and continued working with him at home and kept him in after school tutoring.
In third grade, his reading deficiency became more apparent. The class had an assignment where the student had to read the front page (while being timed). When the time was up, the student had to turn the page over and answer questions about what was read. Scottie had a meltdown. He was totally overwhelmed with seeing so many letters on a page. He'd get stuck on a word he didn't recognize and rarely finished the story. It was heart-breaking to see him so frustrated and so upset with himself. In the third grade, he also began reversing his math facts (9 x 5 = 54, not 45).
At the beginning of each year, I'd discuss Scottie's reading disability with his teacher without much feedback or suggestions.
Over the years, Scottie had fine-tuned his memorization skills which got him through lower grades, but it was becoming harder each year to keep up as more reading was expected.
It wasn't until the 5th grade that Scottie was fortunate enough to have a teacher, Mrs. Cynthia Dapello, who was familiar with dyslexia. During my routine meeting with Scottie's new teacher at the beginning of the year, and upon my description of his reading difficulties, Mrs. Dapello went to her computer, printed off a list of dyslexia symptoms and asked me if any of the symptoms described Scottie. Finally, a teacher recognized Scottie's learning- to-read challenge! At least now we had a name for his reading disability and could begin to get the specialized classes he so desperately needed.
Scottie started the Barton Reading and Spelling Program in the 5th grade. He excelled in school in 6th grade and continued the program. He took a year off from tutoring in 7th grade but began to struggle the last semester so he was enrolled back in the Barton program. He completed the program last year, during his freshman year in high school.
The Barton Reading and Spelling program helped him tremendously. It's sad that Scottie had to struggle all those years before he was diagnosed with dyslexia. If he had started the program earlier, it would have saved a lot of frustration and tears. Schools should screen for dyslexia in the early years and provide the necessary classes for these students.
While not unusual for dyslexic children, Scottie has a very creative side. He sees details that most people overlook; he loves to build things and as a young child, he would spend hours making toys from simple household items. He would often get praise from teachers for his attention to detail in his required drawings for school. He has a love for "old" classic, nostalgic items and when something grabs his interest, he will learn as much as he can about it. First, it was classic bicycles, then old cameras, and now that he is older, it is classic cars.
Scottie is so fortunate that he had a teacher, Mrs. Dapello, who believed in him and was willing and patient; she never gave up on him.
~Nancy, Mom of Scottie