May is a huge help with the little ones. She frequently reads BB a book or two or more in his room at bedtime. The other night I listened in from the hallway.
May was reading a Disney book. She was reading with feeling and expression. She was using voices. She was not struggling. BB was eating it up!
This event may not seem like much, but it is HUGE! May is dyslexic. She could hardly read at all for many years.
At the end of second grade, she was two years behind, barely knowing what sounds letters make. That was after eighteen months of private tutoring and a year in reading resource (special ed). She spent two more years in pull out resource classes for reading and almost maintained being two years behind. But her self-esteem tanked. Everyone made fun of her and called her dumb. She did not like school.
I switched her to a private Christian school for fifth grade. God truly orchestrated this move!
Two years earlier, I met the principal at this private school the spring Sweets was four and I was searching for a kindergarten for her.* This principal heard my family's story and just LOVED on us. She met May as a result and later learned, after I enrolled Buddy in kindergarten a year later after my fabulous experience with Sweets, that May was struggling with her dyslexia in public school. She told me she would be returning to teaching and would be teaching fifth grade the following year, the year May would be in fifth grade. This teacher was a speech specialist and had previously taught a student with severe dyslexia who was by then very successful in high school.
I completed an application for May to attend this private school as she was completing fourth grade. Her IEP (special ed plan) was provided to the school with all her records from the public school. I received a call from the newly hired principal in June saying that despite her high intelligence level, they could not accept her, because her special needs were more than that school could handle. I was devastated, as she hated school by then.
I asked the new principal to reconsider and eventually resorted to begging, saying May needed to go to a new school. I solicited the teacher for help, since May would be in her class and she was willing to teach her. I told the principal I would agree to a one quarter trial period; if the school would just accept her for one nine-week grading period, I would agree to disenroll her if it did not work. The principal brought us in for a pre-admission interview, a standard practice at this private school. At the end of the interview, he asked May to read him a couple short books. Keep in mind, she just finished fourth grade. The books were second and third grade level. She struggled through part of the second grade book and could barely touch the third grade book. But, he accepted her!
The rest is history. This teacher taught May for fifth and sixth grade. Now May has followed her to the junior high school and had her for some of her classes in seventh and eighth grade. The other teachers have also been just as awesome and work with this teacher to adapt teaching methods to be most effective for May. Last year she was reading at grade level. YES!!! She still struggles with schoolwork, but now she is succeeding.
Now May can read out loud to her little brother and not stumble. I am SO PROUD of her!
*Sweets has a late fall birthday and missed the public school cutoff for kindergarten. This private school tested her and accepted her a year before public school would. I felt it was imperative for her to start that year. If she went to live with her dad, she did not need to spend an entire school year in front of the the TV or dropped off with different people each day (he would never send her to daycare). If she stayed with me, she needed to be ahead of Buddy, who was only four months younger but at that time developmentally a year younger. Sweets is now in fifth grade, the youngest in her class, and one of the smartest.