Thursday, January 20, 2011

Success Stories in Learning to Read

On this blog, I strive to educate and inspire by posting useful and insightful information for teachers of English. Generally, my posts contain a slant in one form or another on improving reading and literacy. Occasionally, I post something related to my work if it falls into the category of educating or inspiring. I just couldn't resist posting these success stories recently gathered from teachers around the US and abroad about the success they've seen using the Reading Horizons program that my company produces. I will mention, too, that just this morning, I skyped with the principal of the school in India that I'm going to visit next week, and she mentioned how thrilled they are with the Reading Horizons program. She expressed how much the students and teachers love the program, as it is filling previously unmet needs. She feels that Reading Horizons is an answer to prayers. 

My hope is that these success stories, as well as the success stories derived from one's own personal experience, will incite teachers everywhere to continue their quest to educate and inspire their students and their fellowmen as they assist them in reaching their full potential.

Reading Horizons Success in 2011
I am a 60-year-old 37-year teacher and not very techno savvy, until Canyons School District funded a computer classroom for my group home based school.  Reading Horizons has only been in use here for the past month and a half.  I can already see improvement in all my students who are in grades 7-12, ages 13-18.  Your program holds the interest of even my most reluctant readers.  For something to show this kind of improvement in so short a time is truly amazing.  I look forward to using it for a long time to come.
Steve, Youth in Custody Teacher
Canyons School District

I teach resource reading in an at-risk urban school. Teaching phonics to adolescents is much different than in elementary and even middle school. Reading Horizons makes sense to my students and they share with me how much it is really helping them feel more confident in reading. When colleagues ask me what program I prefer when teaching basic phonics, I say Reading Horizons.
Granger High School
West Valley City, UT

Last May I attended an IEP meeting for a student who had been attending an instructional special education class for three years.  There had been very little increase in his reading abilities.  Tests showed an increase of six months.  The mother was very upset over the lack of progress and wanted a change.  This sixth grader transferred to my class for the start of the new school year.  In the semester that I have had him he has used Reading Horizons.  His reading has already improved six months.  A lot of different strategies have been used but Reading Horizons is a primary staple in his instruction.  His spelling and writing all correspond to the skills he is learning and practicing through Reading Horizons. The mother and the boy are extremely pleased with the progress made.  I am ecstatic. 
Franklin High School
Franklin, IL

It has been a good program to help my struggling readers. It is incorporated into classroom stations. I like the ability to assess the students prior to customizing each students program. The new library is a good addition for students. I have 18 kids that are struggling readers and they are progressing by a grade level or more. 
Concordia Creative Learning Academy
St. Paul, Minnesota

We are a small campus with just a handful of special education students. We have used the program with one particular female student who is now passing her subjects, but was not in the beginning.  I think this is due to some improvement in reading skills.  She moved in from out of state this year, and was not doing well.  I can see an improvement, and since this is the main thing we have concentrated on, I can see this program offers benefits. 
Premier High School
Abilene, TX  

I would just like to write a few lines to let you all know that I have worked with Reading Horizons over the past four years.  I am a Special Education Teacher at a Charter school in San Antonio, Texas.  The majority of our students come to us with many learning gaps in reading.  Most of our students have gone through and completed the lessons in Reading Horizons and have usually increased their phonological reading grade level by at least 2 or more grade levels when we compare their pre and post tests.  I have been very pleased with the set up of the program and have heard nothing but positive feedback as students work through the lessons and complete the program with a sense of accomplishment.  Keep up the good work and continue working on developing effective ways to teach our students!
Premier High School of San Antonio

In 2010, I volunteered time to help an adult in my community to improve reading skills.  Her educational goal is to earn the GED.  I introduced the adult reading program of Reading Horizons, and she loves it as much as I do!  Reading Horizons provides immediate success which motivated my student to stay the course and not give-up.  Within seven months, my student improved her reading skills from barely 3rd grade to between 5th and 6th grade levels.  By the end of 2010, we completed 23 lessons within seven months, and we have expanded the instruction to include reading in science, math, history, and social studies.

As a teacher of reading since 2000, I was introduced to and used several different programs for teaching struggling readers.  Needless to say, I was frustrated with the slow progress and no one program was flexible enough to help a wide range of students.  Then one day, I was surfing the internet for educational information regarding dyslexia, and happened upon Reading Horizons.  Fortunately, you offered an online tutorial for teachers.  It was easy to use, and I was able to complete it in record time.  I loved it!  The program fit with my philosophical beliefs regarding reading instruction.  I immediately ordered my first kit, and never looked back.  I continue to purchase products from Reading Horizons to supplement my teaching experience, and it just gets better and better.

Since 2008, Reading Horizons is the primary program I use for reading instruction, and my success in teaching spans a wide range of teaching venues.  Thank you Reading Horizons for saving me as a teacher, but most importantly, for giving hope to those students who thought there was no hope left.
Mary,Reading Teacher
Austin, Texas

We have been very happy with our experience with the online Reading Horizons program.  The students enjoy the reading program and are learning a lot. Our only complaint is that we could use more student spots and are unable to afford them.
Erin, ABE Teacher
Robbinsdale Adult Academic Program

I have used your materials to teach low income Hispanic students who are enrolled in a family Literacy program. I also use the Reading Horizons to teach a basic English class to lower functioning adult students as well as English Language Learners. The first half of the year I present the materials to the students, and now as the second half of the year is about to begin, I plan on having the students present the material to the rest of the class. During our reading it is great and very rewarding to see the students applying what they have learned with Reading Horizons to their everyday reading. I have also noticed that my ELL students can pronounce the words better when they understand the different rules and skills.
Iron County Adult Education
Cedar City, Utah

We as a reading department wanted to thank you all at Reading Horizons for the help you’ve given us in producing a product that delivers such fine quality as a supplement to our Reading Curriculum here at Clearfield Job Corps.  We are grateful for the time your staff takes in answering our questions and making special trips to our center to help us with any problems that may arise.
I personally use the Reading Library books that were sent to us by Reading Horizons that match the computer program’s library.  They have been very helpful to my students in getting the practice they need for reading comprehension. 
Thank you again for this wonderful program.  Thank you for your hard-work, dedication to improving literacy, and your patience and help in working with us.
Jed Brober
Clearfield Utah Job Corps

What a great year it has been!  The progress my students have made with the use of Reading Horizons Intensive Phonics 1st grade has continued to be amazing!  I used the program last year with my Kindergarten students, and since I have the same students this year I continued with where we left off.  My students consistently score high on the phonics portion of our reading assessment.  I have never had students understand the phonics of reading as well as they do with using Reading Horizons!
Park Side Elementary
K/1 Looping Teacher

My kids love the “Leprechaun” phonics which is what they have nicknamed the computer program.  It works so well to practice all of the sounds and then reinforce in a fun and consistent way!  The documentation and data that I can take to our RTI meetings is substantial.
Patsy, Literacy Specialist
Letford Elementary School
Johnstown, CO

I love using the decoding skills that your program offers.
My intervention students have come so far this year because of these concepts.
Thank you so much!
Angela, Reading Coach/Interventionist
Monticello Elementary School

I enjoy working with your program.  I like the scope and sequence of the lessons.
Jamie, Reading Teacher
Alan B. Shepard Elementary

We have had many students who are struggling readers finally get the “a-ha moment” while learning about marking words.
Tiscia, Reagan Academy
Springville, Utah

We are using the Discover Intensive Phonics program with our Zambian adult women.  Although it's a slow process, they are learning.  Some of these women have never been to school so you can imagine the difficulties they have.  Yet they are willing and eager to learn to read English which is Zambia's national language. 

Martha Barrett
Literacy Missionary in Zambia

Here is a testimony from Mrs. Doreen Sichilindi from our ESL class.  Doreen is a fast learner and has been in the phonics program since 2010. She is tops in her class at decoding, proving, and reading.  

"My name is Doreen N. Sichilindi. I was a person who could not read in front of people because my reading was so bad.  So I stopped going to government schools in Grade 8 in 1997.  Now I am 27 years old, married with three children...I came to Baptist Adult Literacy School 4th February, 2009.

"One day my husband came back from work and he said, 'You must go back to school!'  I was surprised because he was a man who didn't want me to go back to school.  Next day I sat with my friend and I told her that my husband wanted me to go back to school. She said, 'I am also going to school. Don't you know?'...I decided to go with her to Baptist Adult Literacy School (BALM). 
Now I'm improving in everything I learn at school and I want God to help me to understand his Word and to understand English very well. Please pray for me to be able to finish my course."

Mrs. Miriam Lungu, also a married ESL student, started the English program in 2010. She writes:
"On a Sunday morning I met my friend Mrs. Tembo who invited me to her home.  She was telling me about the school (BALM). I didn't know anything.  Now I can read, write, speak and understand English well.  One day my grade 7 daughter came from school with a letter from school.  She gave it to me and I started reading it to her.  She was very happy. Then she started encouraging me to continue going to school."

Do you have a success story of your own to share?

For more information about Reading Horizons, visit my company's website, or view the free Online Workshop.

1 comment:

  1. These stories are truly inspirational. I myself have hired a private tutor for my kids. I want to give them the best education they could have.