Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Who would have ever thought that would be the word we would use to describe Dallin and Landon's reading habits? I mean seriously. I don't think I've ever written about Dal and Lan's reading journey. It is one of tears and triumph.

Four years ago (about) when we moved to Twin Falls we experienced every parents' nightmare. "Your sons are severely delayed in their reading levels," the school reported.

'What are you talking about' we thought--they were just fine three weeks ago in Arizona?' (we didn't realize they were memorizing their books...) We experienced every level of denial--'Just leave them alone and let them play--they are just curious boys!' or 'Why are you so advanced anyway, I mean who reads in first grade?'

Finally when we were a couple of months into second grade we could not ignore the problem. Our boys couldn't even read the tiniest basic words--is, a, the, of--and they REALLY couldn't spell them. In fact our sweet teacher finally brought to our attention that neither Dallin or Landon could even recognize their own names in a sentence. After much testing, the diagnosis---DYSLEXIA.

We literally had months of crying, bed-wetting, tantrums, anxiety and other learning difficulty induced problems. And when second grade finished they still couldn't read. That was when we made the tearful but inevitable decision that we had to repeat second grade.

Thankfully it was the best thing we could have done. We had a really outstanding teacher who increased their sense of self-esteem. They learned to read and finished second grade at grade level. (We also went to a year of tutoring at a special tutoring center.)

Third grade brought a new challenge for Dallin. We saw his reading levels again take a nose dive (like, all the way back to a beginning first grade level...) and we knew there was a problem. (some serious hyperventilating and anxiety on my part!!) Thanks again to a great teacher we realized that Dallin has ADD. Medication has literally changed his and our lives. He loves and really succeeds well in school. He takes his medicine on his own because he says it makes "everything just so much easier." Landon does really really great in school also. I actually can't remember the last time I did spelling words with the boys. They do fine on their spelling tests but that doesn't do anything at all for their ability to spell correctly in regular written work. I'm not sure we will ever really get that down.

Anyway, last night I finally caught on to why the boys are so hard to wake up in the morning lately. Yes--as their father's children--they had their flashlights in their beds are were reading until the wee hours of the morning. Can you believe it? THEY ARE READING ALL NIGHT! Who would have guessed three years ago that I wouldn't be able to get them to stop reading! I had to impound their books at lights out though...

In part we have Percy and the Olympians to thank for this great phenomena. We also have some divine intervention to acknowledge.

Years ago, in desperation, I started reading the Little house on the Prairie books to the boys at bedtime (I could not stand one more repetition of Dr. Seuss--). From there we went to The Hobbit (which my five year olds listened to attentively!) and the rest is history. Harry Potter, Narnia, Eragon, and a bazillion other series... We have literally read and reread more than 100 books. We need to make a list sometime. At least an hour a night. I had no idea that reading out loud to the boys was probably the single best thing that I could have done to help with their dyslexia. What a blessing. We all really love it.

I guess this is the proof that the Lord wasn't kidding when he said He could make "weak things become strong" unto us. I'm very grateful.


InkMom said...

Thanks for sharing this . . . really.

Ash said...

That is a really cool story looking back on everything. I didn't even think about all the difficulties they've gone through yesterday while Landon was finding every spare second to stick his nose it his book. You are a good mom, patient and perfect for your boys.

Redfish Clan said...

I'm glad that you were able to get things figured out and that the boys are successful. Sometimes we have to fight for our kids, and sometimes it takes patience and understanding. It sounds like the teachers were awesome!! Hats off to teachers that care!! I had to fight the system to get help for Ben. I'm glad that the teachers are fighting for your boys. Congratulations to them and keep up the good work, Dallin and Landon!!!!

Becky said...

Wow! What an amazing story of perserverance and listening to the Spirit. What a great gift you give to those boys. I'd love to chat about some of the series you've read together. We're always on the lookout for good literature!

Juli said...

You're the best. I love that you read to your kids every night. They have such great imaginations. I'm glad they had eachother too, through the whole ordeal. Your kids are awesome.