Step by Step the Journey Continues

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Be sure to read to the end of this blog for a free offer! One meeting can change the course of your life! A meeting can further your journey down a path you are certain you were meant to travel.
That is how I feel about my meeting Yasmin John-Thorpe, amazing parent and grandparent, and published author.  I am sure some of you reading today’s blog can relate to this statement. During my last blog I shared about the start of my journey after meeting Yasmin.  In today’s blog I want to share where our journey is taking us. As a younger student I fell in love with writing.  I really enjoyed my writing classes.  At one point in life I wanted to become a journalist. That of course changed to becoming a teacher.  But  I have written a children’s historical novel. I never submitted the manuscript and it remains unpublished. So, meeting Yasmin reminded me of the writing goals yet on my Bucket List.  I’ve been rather busy the past few years volunteering in the dyslexia community and running a business to support those with dyslexia, but I feel it might be time to once again spend some of my time focused in meeting my writing goals…and my daughter Jessica keeps asking me when I’m going to try and get my book published. Yasmin and my meetings turned from a focus of translating her books into digital format to a discussion surrounding the lack of available decodable books for those who are using an Orton-Gillingham approach to learning to read, write, and spell.  Over the past 15 years in business and directing services for students with dyslexia, I have had to search long and hard to find books that match the students’ skill levels.  In fact, it has been quite difficult to find those resources.  I have a small library of resources that really address the philosophy that student should start at reading only what sound-to-symbols they have been taught and my learning  the researched-based information that students understand best when reading at 95% decodable rate. I began sharing this challenge with Yasmin during a couple of meetings.  This is where the real work has begun for both of us. At a meeting in January, Yasmin looked at me and asked if I would co-write a book with her.  My heart skipped a beat or two!  Would I love to attempt this?  It didn’t take me long.  In fact, I remember tearing up.  I had to explain that this opportunity would let me fulfill my two loves– supporting my students at Successful Learning Educational Services and writing for children.  Would I consider writing decodable books for students with dyslexia?  Absolutely! We have begun the process.  We have already submitted one book to Yasmin’s publisher and are awaiting a response. I think that at whatever point this book becomes published, our readers will love it!  The second step in the process has been more challenging as we have begun working on decodable readers for students who are learning to read through an Orton-Gillingham instructional process.  These books will fulfill the need to have more accessible books for children to read at that 95% decodable rate. Why do I care so much about this success rate when we already have so many children’s books available?  As a 2nd grade teacher years ago, I didn’t really realize that the many beautifully books I had in my classroom library were not decodable to many of my students.  In fact, they were filled with so many symbol-to-sound patterns that my students had not yet been introduced to, nor had the opportunity to practice to the point of really understanding the varying sounds those symbol-to-sound patterns make in the English language.  They were being forced to “Guess and Go”, using context and picture clues to get them to guess at the words.  No wonder when I did my reading analysis of my 2nd grade students they would “know a word” on one page, and completely miss the word the next time it was encountered in the story line.  Since I have been providing books to our students at Successful Learning Educational Services, I have seen the rate of reading accuracy at a much higher rate than ever before, especially for our dyslexic students.  With that accuracy rate, students gain confidence in their ability to decode and understand what they read…and they WANT to read! Yasmin and I are excited about the possibility of providing additional reading resources to students with dyslexia and for all beginning readers.  We know that change is on the way in  the field of reading and we want to be able to support that change! I’ll continue to keep you updated on our work together, so be sure and follow my blog by subscribing below! By signing up to follow this blog you can download Yasmin’s book, The Q’s,  in pdf format for free! Please fill out your information below to gain access.
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