"Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started."
An Old Proverb

Austin's success story is about a young dyslexic boy who learned to read because of two things. First, his mom was a dedicated home school parent. Second, she was willing to learn the Orton-Gillingham method, a multi-sensory reading technique.


Austin was in 2nd grade when I first saw him. I had worked with two of his brothers in the past. They both had slight dyslexia which created a learning disability as well as a reading disability.

Austin was home schooled which worked well for him. His mother had home schooled five other brothers and sisters before him. She was a college graduate and therefore was quite capable of teaching her children. Unfortunately, even after home schooling Austin's siblings, she was unable to help Austin. So she sought my services once again.

The first thing was to test Austin to see if I could determine his reading weaknesses.


By the end of 2nd grade, Austin was becoming very verbal about not wanting to read or do school work. This was when the mother realized that Austin might have a learning problem like his brothers.

I gave Austin a GORT reading test as well as a Sound/Symbol Relationship test (phonics test) to see where he might be stumbling. Austin was not even reading at a 1st grade level.

This was understandable since he only knew some of the consonants and the short vowels. However, he stumbled over all of the short vowels except for o. Austin had a problem reading three letter nonsense words like vam, rif and cug because he didn't understand how to blend the letter sounds together to make a word.

Even though I am not a qualified diagnostician, I had worked with enough learning disabled children to recognize the symptoms of dyslexia. I suggested that Austin be tested by a doctor if they wanted a professional diagnosis.

They declined to do this. They really didn't need a written report as Austin was being home schooled. Because their other two sons had spent time in remediation with me, they enlisted my services once again.


After working with Austin for only a few sessions, I could tell his learning disability was severe. I informed the parents that this would take some real dedication on their part to see this remediation to fruition for Austin's success. I also informed them that Austin would have a difficult road because it was going to take some hard work and determination on his part.

The mother sat in on the sessions I did with Austin, twice a week, in order to learn the Orton-Gillingham method. I would explain the method as I worked with Austin. At the end of the session, I would suggest different things she could do with Austin during the week.

We used the Explode the Code Workbooks to be used at home as reinforcement material.


I worked with Austin for 3 years. Austin was stubborn at times; not wanting to work with his mom. It helped that I was there to reassure him that his mom knows what she is doing and that he needed to follow her direction.

It was a slow progress, but steady. When they quit, he still read very slowly; at a third grade level. However, he was comprehending at a 7th grade level.


Homeschool worked well for Austin. Because his handicap was so severe, his mom was able to work at his pace. When Austin got frustrated during school time, she would back off and send him outside to the woods (where he likes to be) so that he could have some alone time.

His dad is a contractor so Austin spent time helping his dad at job sites. The hands-on job skills that Austin learned helped him understand that he is a worthy person even with a learning disability.

Austin will need intervention for quite a while. BUT there is HOPE. His brothers went to college. They both have jobs and are married. Austin realizes that there is life EVEN with a learning disability!

Austin's success and future success was and will be attributed to the fact that everyone was part of the team: 

  • His mom's dedication to his schooling.
  • His dad's mentoring.
  • His brother's and sister's acceptance and understanding.
  • He played organized sports.
  • He took music lessons and participated in competitions.
  • He went to homeschool social events and
  • His parents sought my services.

You're invited to comment on this story or any other story. If you have a reading success story to tell, I and the readers would like to hear it. If you need help, ask it here.

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