Last summer, I met a lovely mom, Rachel, at a homeschool conference. She had come into our booth to purchase Math-U-See materials, and while she was waiting in line to complete her order, she looked over at the Spelling You See books. During this busy day, I had the good fortune to have a conversation with her that changed her perspective about her child.
Rachel said, “Oh, I wish you had Spelling You See when my child was younger. He is a phenomenal reader, but cannot spell for beans. He is too old now to learn.”
“Really?” I questioned. “May I ask how old he is?”
“He is fifteen” she said, “and we are both resigned to the fact that he is going to be a terrible speller all the days of his life.”
I laughed and asked if she were willing to give me 60 days to change her opinion. You see, here is what I know: Rachel was coming from the same perspective I had before Spelling You See came into my life. I thought spelling proficiency was like eye color – something with which you were born; you were either a “speller” or not. My own experience was two kids who were confident spellers and two kids who were not, and I used the same spelling programs (note, more than one) with them all.
Spelling You See has taught me that a spelling confidence can be created in anyone, regardless of their age, if the principles found in the program are applied. My own son, who at age fourteen, as a diagnosed dyslexic and having resigned himself to believing that he would never be a “speller”, found that he could indeed spell! He used the Spelling You See program for about a year, until other academic pursuits overrode the time he had to allot for spelling. What did Spelling You See do for him? I say, honestly, as does he, that he will never win a spelling bee; however, he now has the ability to recognize when a word doesn’t “look right,” and uses the tools available to him to correct his errors. In fact, he can even recognize when he has an inaccurate homophone; for example, using the word ‘rain” when he wants to use the word “reign.” This is an enormous accomplishment, especially for someone who is dyslexic.
I just had the joy of editing his final paper for his freshman college English class. It was compelling and funny and thought-provoking, much like its author. The coolest part of the whole experience was that I could only find one spelling error in his endeavor. Honestly, four years ago, I would not have thought we would be here today!
If you are a parent of a child who struggles to spell, regardless of his or her age, I encourage you to look at Spelling You See. My grateful heart for Spelling You See will always be the fact that it changed my dyslexic son’s belief about his own abilities.
What is the “rest of the story” with Rachel and her son? Rachel took my offer of trying Spelling You See for 60 days. We agreed that she would use the program as instructed, read all of the handbook, and do the exercises with her son. We agreed that I would call her after a month to see how it was going.
Ring. Rinnnggggg. “Hello?”
“Rachel, this is Gretchen Roe, from Demme Learning. I was calling to check in with you and your son regarding your Spelling You See experiences.”
“Gretchen, I cannot begin to tell you what a blessing this experience has been for us! His attitude about his spelling is different now, and we are making progress. Even more important is that when I ask him to do his composition lessons, we are not arguing. Please thank Dr. Holinga and the staff at Demme Learning for this wonderful program!”
Our thanks is knowing that Rachel and and her son have been able to change their point of view about what he can do – and that is thanks enough!