Helping children learn to read and spell
in days instead of years

The story of James

James was such a bright boy! Eight years old and full of energy.

But after years of effort, James could not read confidently. He would often guess short, common words. Then he read a long word like ‘elephant’ without a problem.

His parents were baffled and frustrated. He was beginning to sense their frustration and question his own abilities, because he had tried really hard at this. He knew his friends were now on chapter books and his confidence was crumbling. Reading practice was becoming more and more stressful for everyone. So the advice “just do more reading” was becoming hard to follow.

A turnaround in 2 months

Eventually his parents, frankly in desperation, decided to try to find a solution themselves. They gave a home tutor a go and then various online systems without success, despite lots of promises of quick results. Finally they ended up testing the Easyread System on a free trial. Their expectations were low!

But from Day 1 they could see a difference in James. He actually wanted to do more, once the short lesson was finished. He then asked to do lesson 2 the next day. This was already pretty amazing for them!

They became dedicated to seeing the process through and in just 63 daily lessons, James was reading. He could work through a paragraph of text without making a mistake on any normal word. He did still need help with some of the more unusual words and place names at this stage, but his general confidence had surged forwards. The awful arguments had vanished.

And then his spelling too

James kept working through the lessons, because his fluency and confidence were growing steadily now. Another month later he chose to do some writing of his own accord, for the first time ever. There were still mistakes, but it was quite readable.

James’ mother was in tears reading it. She felt she was getting her happy, carefree boy back, at last!

James now

It is ten years on now, but we have heard back from James and his parents over the years!

He is off to college to study product design. His natural visual strengths are still there and he loves design and drawing. But he happily reads and reads too. His life has a good balance to it and he got a full set of great results at the end of school. He could have taken other directions if he had wanted to.

What made the difference

The reason James had been struggling is that his early reader books encouraged him to store all the words in his visual memory. That was easy for him with so few words and a good memory, whereas trying to use the rules of conventional phonics was hard for him. Why were words like ‘gas’, ‘has’ and ‘was’ pronounced so differently? It annoyed him!

Although this whole-word-memory strategy worked for him at first, his real problems started as the books became more complex, with more and more words. His strategy of trying to recall them from memory just got harder and harder, especially with the short words that all looked so similar.

Then James tried the Easyread System and started reading with the help of trainertext visual phonics (TVP). The trainertext helped him to read each word by decoding the letter patterns to sounds. It was the first time he had really done that, despite being taught conventional phonics at school and by his tutor. The more words he read in this decoding way, the more he found he could read them automatically. Soon it had become a subconscious skill, like walking, talking and riding a bike.

Take a free trial to test it yourself

If you have a child struggling to read and/or spell like James, do give our Easyread System a go on our free trial. There is nothing to lose by seeing it in action:

Help for younger children

Some five year-olds do very well on the Easyread System. But if you have a pre-school child, then we recommend using some of our free resources to get going in the right direction together. You can see those here:

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