Reading Progress & the Launch of Teach My Kid to Read

Progress, progress, progress. The overall impression from the tutor and some of the administrators is that our daughter progressed at Camp Dunnabeck. Mostly we hear that she is making incredible progress, but we simply need to hear the word “progress” to be relieved. It has been years since the word progress has been used relative to reading skills without the terms gradually or inconsistently preceding it. Progress. She is improving. She can get better. She can strive. We can hope. She is not just artistic, creative and athletic. She is smart-period. We never had doubt.

Bella flying
Isabella at age two is flying over the ocean.

It’s time to go home. It’s time to figure out school for next year. It’s been six weeks of commuting and staying in rental properties in remote areas with mixed WiFi and cell service. For these past few days, we are in a studio, basement apartment two miles from the camp. It is Hudson River School of American Landscape painters breathtaking, but so secluded. I’ve had a fever each night along with aches and pains in my neck and shoulders. I’m ready to go home. I miss Tiana. I miss our cats. School starts in less than a month, and we haven’t figured out what we are doing. It’s time to make a decision. A decision doesn’t mean we can’t change paths, but we need to make a decision.

millerton view
The view from our studio apartment near Camp Dunnabeck.

Back to our Montessori School. Isabella loves her school. We are fortunate in that with all of her learning challenges relative to reading; her confidence is still intact. At her darkest, she shouts out that she is dumb, but most of the time she is OK. When I ask her where she wants to go to school this fall she says she wants to go back to her current Montessori school. It is familiar, and she feels safe there. They make great efforts to teach her, but it is not a school for language differences, nor do they have multi-sensory reading services delivered with fidelity. It is just a good place with lots of committed teachers that do their best to encourage each child’s strengths. Our daughter needs more than that. She needs specialized services so that she can grow up to be independent and have the necessary life skills to follow her dreams.

Multi-sensory services with fidelity should be offered in every school. Most schools are not set up to deliver those services, so the solutions and costs fall to the parents to figure out, or not.

Solutions and advocacy. I have spent my career creating content for different learners. Some of my time has been devoted to creating content for non-traditional students, but most of my time has been focused on traditional or what some call neuro-typical learners. Creating so-called traditional content is not where I belong right now. I’m tired of just talking and listening. I need to be part of a plan or the action. It’s cheesy, but being up here surrounded by all this natural beauty has given me the strength and courage to share our story.

Teach My Kid to Read. I hope to grow Teach My Kid to Read into an organization. While that is being figured out I will continue to share our story and stories of other families. Continue to follow us to see how services work out this fall, and to learn about other topics related to reading and learning differences. If you would like to get involved with Teach My Kid to Read contact me at:

Teach My Kid to Read: Parents and Other People

The Parents

There is our story. Yet, there are so many other stories to tell. Over time, I hope this website can feature tons and tons of stories and serve as a repository to document the heart-wrenching decisions that families are faced with to get their child the correct reading services. While every story is different, with a parent’s awareness I recognize, that there are poignant commonalities between us; we the parents of kids with learning, behavioral and physical differences. We see a hope and resilience and an unwavering vision of our kid as brilliant, perfect and deserving of happiness. Even if there are times that only you see it and people around you are skewing your vision or taking away your hope, you stay on your path. For us, our path is to get our daughter to read, and keep her self-confidence intact in the process. That’s what we owe her.

Keeping our kid’s dignity and self-confidence is the hardest part of being a parent of a kid with a learning difference.

The people I have been meeting this summer are a lot like me. So many Moms (and some Dads) staying up here with their kids. Dorothy was only here for part of the summer, and I miss seeing her smiling face in the morning. Dorothy would leap out of her truck with her young son, Caleb, fresh from the campground where they were staying. Although her son was newly diagnosed with a reading difference, Dorothy was a fountain of knowledge and a bundle of positive energy. I learned a lot from her. Then there is Linda from Australia who found Camp Dunnabeck after an exhaustive search for the right services. We got to know each other a little in an Orton-Gillingham seminar which is like extra-curriculars for those of us in this world of reading and language differences. Someone said we go to the ends of the earth for our kids. Here’s to Dorothy and Linda.

Dorothy and Caleb_01
Two beautiful people. Dorothy and her son, Caleb.

The People

And then there’s people I happen to meet. Each day I take my dog for a walk on a lane that is usually deserted except for the typical wildlife we encounter. The other day a car actually drove by, and stopped. The driver introduced herself as Stephanie. She thought I was one of her tenant’s guests staying in a cottage on her family compound. She was as surprised to see me as I was to see a car. She asked where I was living and I told her where, and that my daughter was attending Camp Dunnabeck in Amenia, New York. As often happens, Stephanie then told me that she was dyslexic and how much harder it makes everything. She was on her way to see a young woman she had mentored for years who had grown up without a lot of parental support, and even at thirty, she was still struggling. As our impromptu/serendipitous/chance meeting came to an end, she smiled perceptively and reassuringly told me not to worry. She said your daughter will be fine. You are doing something here and she has support, that will make all the difference. That’s what we are all doing here. I hope Stephanie is right. #Teachmykidtoread #Dyslexia

The lane that leads to Stephanie's compound.
The lane that leads to Stephanie’s house.