Jonathon was 7 and ending kindergarten. We had started him late because teachers were hoping he was a late bloomer. To get Jonathon to bloom even at this late age was taking lots of hard work. He was not reading even a little bit, not really even at all.
My quest began to find resources that would help our son. At first, suspecting Jonathon had special needs going on or even just a learning difference, our faith kicked in. I started writing down Bible verses and having intense prayer sessions. But I had a startling discovery as I began to share with other people of faith whom I trusted, they all did not quickly jump into “faith” mode.
No, almost all of them prayed that I would be led to the right resources for Jonathon. I was surprised. For several weeks or months, my focus had not been the here and now, but wanting to obtain some sort of answer directly from God. As I look back, I am so thankful for the people who helped me to want to change the here and now and not wait for a miracle.
So I began Google searching for answers. I quickly found tutors to be one expensive commodity. If you would like to make lots of money, you might start into tutoring, especially of the Orton-Gillingham variety of learning suggested for Dyslexics.
How thrilling it was to discover the Mason’s offer a free learning center to children with reading problems. I was so certain this was our answer for Jonathon. One more piece of our jig-saw puzzle coming together. Quickly, I tried to get Jonathon entered into the center. My enthusiasm to get Jonathon help intensified after our last field trip with his kindergarten class at his private school.
We went to our city’s metro library down town. It was supposed to be a day filled with adventure through books. Much to my dismay, Jonathon was saddened by all the books. He could not find any he could read much at all. I noticed the other children plodding their way through to some extent or another. This was after we knew of his learning difference, so I was not totally shocked by this occurence.
Although what was absolutely shocking was an eighty some year old African-American man was sitting at a table in the children’s section of the library, an older African-American woman sat by him. She was trying to teach him to read. He was toothless. She would point out three letter words in a picture book to the man and he would shake his head, “No, no, I don’t know that word. Others have tried to teach me this way and it has never took.”
I wanted so badly to share our rainbow making exercise with the magnetic letters, but I didn’t. I have not been one to invade peoples business. But that day, I vowed to not let Jonathon turn into that man.
I also soon learned our government designs the size of our prisons by the illiteracy rate in America. You can learn about it too at www.childrenofthecode.org. It is a bone chilling web site and I urge anyone reading this blog, if any of us can help a child learn to read, we will be freeing them forever.
I think of Jonathon today at almost 10 years old. He can sometimes read a little, but to really read quickly, like when in a pinch is not coming easy to him. He often seems to be an alien in the world of reading. Over the summer, I realized he was reading aloud some the signs of businesses and he would ask, “What is a Midas? What does the Good Year do?” I found myself explaining many businesses to him because they were new to him, very, very new.
And so Jonathon was accepted into the learning center. I was thrilled. At a Dyslexia conference teen children had shared how the center had been their place of direction, a safe haven for other children that learned in the same style they did. How excited I was for Jonathon to have belonging in this way. A center that would help him for years to come… READ and at no charge. My heart sang. My spirit was lifted. A new day had dawned. Our Jonathon would thrive, I was certain. Progress would come quicker, much, much quicker. The planets had aligned for our family. It would all be okay.
Our Jonathon was not the big communicator ever. His speech therapist introduced us to a game called Zingo. Jonathon took to it right away and it got him talking and inner-acting better. We loved it! I recommend this game for every family. It puts a new fun
spin on bingo and we greatly enjoy it!
It is big giant fun, just in a not so big box!!