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The Writing Connection


Sometimes you know that a meeting is just meant to be.  When you have a passion for helping students read and write.  When you are looking for just the right reading materials for struggling readers.  When you have a drive to find the “Just Right” text that they can read. When you want to share that motivating drive to get kids reading and you find someone else that shares that passion.

That is how I feel about meeting author Yasmin John-Thorpe last November in Green Valley, Arizona.  I was attending a community arts and crafts show in my new community with my long-time friends, Deb Nesbitt and Terri Gutierrez, who had also recently moved there.  I happened to walk by a table loaded with children’s books. Being a former classroom teacher and still having a love of children’s books, I had to stop and browse. Yasmin had her colorful children’s books about the desert southwest on display. 

 I was intrigued by the delightful pictures and fun stories about animals and life in the Sonoran Desert. Originally from the northwest and recently transplanted to the desert southwest, I immediately thought of all the students attending Successful Learning Educational Services back in my home state of Washington and nearby city of Portland, Oregon.  I wanted them to be able to learn about the amazing creatures and life here and as I browsed through the texts, I knew that many of my young dyslexic friends who would love her books, would not be able to access the print.

I introduced myself to Yasmin, shared my love of her books  and explained my dilemma of wanting to purchase her books for my students and yet knowing they would not be able to read them.  I asked if her books were in a digital format. She said that they were not. I wondered if she would be interested in talking more  about that. As I talked with Yasmin, I learned that she lived in my community. I gave her my business card, took hers, and asked if I could possibly meet with her to discuss this more.  To my delight, she said yes. And that is how this journey began.

Sharing Our Passion for Literacy

Upon meeting Yasmin a couple of weeks later over lunch, I learned of her amazing  journey into authorship. Yasmin is a self-published Canadian author, who has written books on Canada’s place in WW II, adult novels, and several amazing children’s books on the desert southwest.  She has worked with children in a number of schools to help them become better authors, has conducted summer writing workshops for children in years past, has mentored budding authors, and was now taking time to listen to my plea to turn her books into a digital format for easy access for MY students.  I explained that most dyslexic students would not be able to read her books, but that they would be very interested if they could learn about these amazing creatures of the desert southwest, if only they could ear read her books. 

January 7, 2019  Our first meeting at the The Grill in Quail Creek, Green Valley, AZ

Yasmin was intrigued.  She promised that she would have her assistant look into what it would take to do this.  

More Introductions

A short time later, another friend of mine, Connie Leinhos, visited me.  She, like my staff and I, tutors students with dyslexia. We visited Yasmin in her home.  Another great visit, and another plea to help make accessible books for Connie and my business’s students.  Yasmin was listening and becoming more intrigued by this need for decodable books. Yasmin gave a few of her books to both of us, which we took to read aloud to our students. 

Cheryl Anthony, Connie Leinhos, and Yasmin John-Thorpe  March 2019

The Planning Begins

We had such a good visit Yasmin and I  decided to meet again.

At this meeting Yasmin shared that she would work with her assistant to get a couple of her books digitally recorded so that our dyslexic students could access them.  True to her word, she did just that. It wasn’t long and a couple of her books became available on Amazon.

 At our next luncheon meeting, Yasmin agreed to let me interview her in a podcast on my website so that she could share her story and tell more about her amazing stories.  So, before the holiday season ended, we had recorded two short podcasts and two of her books were available digitally.  

Yasmin John-Thorpe reading A New Home for the Q’s, a first attempt at recording her book.

This was great progress!

To check out Yasmin’s books, click the photos below.

If you are interested in listening to our podcasts, they can be found here:

Part One

Part Two

Watch for my blog next week to learn what we are up to NOW!

Cheryl Anthony, MS Ed.

Dyslexia Consultant

President, Successful Learning Educational Services

1st Recipient of the Roberts Scholarship!

Meet Nicole & Edward Peters!

Nicole has been a professional Pastry Chef for 13 years, and is very passionate about her work.  She has worked in a wide range of establishments from a patisserie to restaurants, from a chocolaterie to catering, and from a boulangerie to an Asian-inspired American bakery.  She has learned and grown along the way as a pastry chef and leader.

Nine years ago she was blessed to find out that she was going to have a baby boy; she has been single from the time of his birth.

#1 Way to Increase Reading Ability Now!

Because children with dyslexia are not at the same level of literacy as their peers, we must approach some literacy aspects differently.  I’ve often heard and read teachers comments about how to increase reading skills.   Generally, the comment is, “Read more.”  While reading more will develop additional literacy skills for the average reader, most dyslexic students cannot decode the words they are being tasked to read. If they are reading, generally they are guessing at unknown words.  Reading more, incorrectly, is not going to create a more apt reader.

Read Across America & Dr. Seuss’ Birthday Celebrations at SLES

As you can see from the NEA Read Across America video, Bella’s Story, it is important to develop a love of learning at an early age.  Our schools work hard to develop this interest…and have some fun while doing so!

As a classroom teacher, I also loved helping my students develop a love of learning.  I too celebrated literacy in a variety of ways, for a variety of learners.  And then, I learned about dyslexia.  I learned that most classrooms do not support the dyslexic learner in the way they really need to be supported to foster and develop that love of reading.  So, I chose to do something different!

Have time work better for you through our Seeing My Time courses

The Sklar Process

A Time Management Class for Individuals & Families

Do you or your child struggle with time management or keeping your papers organized?  Is it difficult to estimate how long a project is going to take?  Does your child wait until the last minute to get started on tasks?  Does time seem like some concept that is not recognized?

Take our Seeing My Time class to get a solid understanding of the maturation of the brain’s function in these areas.  Get real tools to help manage the household’s time and to help your child manage their time more efficiently.  Take the nagging out of parenting!  Place the decision making and accountability in your child’s corner.

Another Successful Graduation!

Another Student Successfully Graduates from the Barton System at Successful Learning Educational Services!

Eden recently passed Level 10 of the Barton Reading & Spelling System. Eden also received instruction in the Framing Your Thoughts program, completing both the grammar and applied writing portions of the curricula. Eden is a very talented student. Eden has performed beautiful opera-style solos at local events, is working towards a black belt in Tae Kwondo, partners with peers at school in horticultural projects, and has a love of animals and plants. All these interests and talents are incorporated into Eden’s daily living and are within Eden’s grasp.