I was in the public school system but I never learned to read.
While the other kids in my class were reading with no problem, I saw everything backwards. I felt ignorant. I couldn’t comprehend something everyone else grasped so easily.
What I didn’t know at the time was that I was Dyslexic. I learned later that my father suffered from the same disability.
It seemed the right person who could teach me how to read didn’t exist. My mom tried to get help from the school system, but she never could. She looked for other options and found Epic Charter School.
Once I began Epic, I gained self-confidence. I was able to work at my own pace and had the choice to have paragraphs read to me. A short time later, my mom found a local program, ReadSmart. Epic and ReadSmart worked together to get me started.
Dyslexia is a major problem in the United States. In fact, about twenty percent of kids in ReadSmart have Dyslexia. ReadSmart has helped these students overcome their struggle with learning to read.
I was nervous at first. All the other teachers and tutors I had acted like it was a hassle to teach a kid my age how to read. I soon learned that ReadSmart was nothing like that.
The teachers are nurturing and passionate. Their sole focus is teaching reading. They create individualized reading plans and dive into how each individual learns. They’re specially trained and customize their methods for every learning style. Each student is getting exactly what they need, on their level, and exactly when they need it. This is all done in a warm, caring and fun environment.
Delight tutored me. She and her husband started ReadSmart. Delight said her husband was her biggest inspiration.
“He always challenges me to be the best I can be,” she said. “He has always believed in me and stands behind me through everything. He pushes me to go beyond what I believe I can achieve. He is an encourager and provides a solid foundation for me. He is a visionary and dreams big.”
The couple started ReadSmart in 2008. Eleven years later, they opened a second location in Broken Arrow. They plan on expanding even more in the future to help as many children as possible.
Delight said she was a teacher in Sapulpa for several years and absolutely loved teaching reading. She said it was fulfilling to help children learn to read.
“I loved the challenge and knew the impact I was having on these children. Reading affects every area of a child’s life,” she said. “When children become strong readers, they truly can achieve their dreams. I love watching their confidence grow along with a true enjoyment for reading.”
She said her husband joined her to start ReadSmart so they could make a stronger impact. “We felt called to help more students succeed and share an effective reading program with families and teachers,” she said.
One parent told her that her son went from not wanting to read at all, to loving to read every night. “He would come home and say this heartbreaking thing: ‘I’m not smart like my friends.’ I have not heard that in probably three months since starting ReadSmart,” the mother said. “It’s an amazing change. He’s confident, he wants to go to school and he knows that he can do what his friends are doing. At home it was a real struggle with homework and now he’s done within twenty minutes. Now he’s helping his little brother read. He really is just a whole new little boy.”
I asked Delight how it felt to see the impact her program had on kids like me. She said it was the most rewarding achievement she had ever experienced.
“Being able to work with teachers who have an amazing heart for children as well as working with parents who desire to help their children succeed has been amazing. There is nothing like helping a child succeed with reading,” she said.
Today, for me, things are different.
Once I learned how to read, it opened up a whole new world. I absolutely love reading. I have read 80 books. My goal in life is to actually become an author one day. None of this would have been possible without the help of ReadSmart.
Editors Note: This story was updated at 1:42 p.m. on October 29, 2019.