sharon's blog

Windy Row's Summer Program

Windy Row's summer program will start soon. We have two very successful programs for children with reading or math challenges:

  1. Our 4-4-4 summer day camp provides 4 hours of fun and reading/math-related activity, 4 times a week for 4 weeks. This wonderful program helps to maintain and strengthen skills and is a great introduction to Windy Row Learning Center for parents and children who are considering tutoring during the coming school year. Please contact us right away if you are interested in this program.
  2. Some of our tutors are available to provide one-on-one, specialized tutoring in reading and math. In order to fit your family's summer schedule--and let our tutors make their own summer plans--we need to know very soon if you are interested in individual tutoring for your child.

Both of our programs have drawn children summer after summer. We would be delighted to help your child. Please call us at 924-7198 or info [at] windyrow.org (email) today.

Windy Row's Newsletter: Sign Up Today

We're about to mail and email our 2nd quarter newsletter. Each quarter the Windy Row newsletter addresses topics of interest to parents, educators, donors and anyone who knows a child who is struggling with reading or math. In past issues, we have provided success stories about some of the children who have attended Windy Row Learning Center; we have thanked our donors; we have explained our services and introduced some of our tutors; we have described a typical day at Windy Row.

Like Windy Row itself, our newsletter is small but it has a huge impact. We send out the Windy Row newsletter 3-4 times a year, and we would be proud and happy to add you to our mailing or email list. Please let us know how you would prefer to receive your copy, and we'll make sure the next issue reaches you.

What Parents Should Know about Reading: Important Words the Experts Use

At Windy Row Learning Center, we often hear from parents and guardians who are hesitant to say that their child is dyslexic. That is why we stress our ability to help with reading (and math) challenges regardless of the official diagnosis. If your child is behind grade level in reading and falling further behind, please contact us. Even if your child does not have a medical diagnosis of dyslexia or learning disability, you are right to be concerned. Here are some words you may have heard in connection with your child:

  1. Orton-Gillingham: an internationally known program of multi-sensory, structured but flexible techniques for teaching reading
  2. Phonemic awareness: how words can be segmented into discrete sounds (for example, how to sound out cat)
  3. Phonological processing: understanding how letters and sounds go together (for example, that d and t have different sounds)
  4. Reading disability: a condition where someone has difficulty reading because of neurological reasons (that is, the brain processes reading in a different way); dyslexia is one example
  5. Reading fluency: the ability to read quickly and smoothly
  6. Word decoding: recognizing single words in isolation or recognizing the parts of a multisyllable word (for example, recognizing "close" in "enclose")

Windy Row provides testing that shows the areas where your child might be haivng the most difficulty with reading. We have access to several renowned programs in addition to Orton-Gillingham and will put together the exact, individualized program that will give your child the right kind of help in the right areas. We are attentive, too, to the shame and confusion children suffer by their inability to read and keep up with peers.

We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Our fees are based on income and scholarships are available. Whatever your concerns, please info [at] windyrow.org (contact) us today. We welcome your questions.

 

Reading Problems: Have You Noticed These Early Signs in Your Child?

Parents are often the first to notice that a child has a reading challenge. There are many signs which may appear separately or together. For example, a preschool child might have difficulty:

  • Saying the letters in alphabetical order
  • Recognizing the letters
  • Providing a rhyme for simple words like "cat" or remembering the rhyming words in a nursery rhyme heard over an over
  • Pronouncing and remembering new words
  • Breaking words apart into sounds (cuh-ah-tuh) or putting the sounds together to make words

A first grader may refuse to read out loud and may not recognize a word even if it already appeared in the same sentence.

When I was a child I had a terrible time sounding out words but I was never dyslexic (I just have no ear for languages or music). So having one of these difficulties may not be a sign of a reading challange.

But listen to your parental instincts. You know your child better than anyone. Dyslexia affects as many as 20% of children and half of those are never identified until they've spent years failing to keep up with their peers and struggling with shame and confusion over their inability to learn to read.

If you have any concerns at all, please info [at] windyrow.org (contact) Windy Row Learning Center. We will be able to reassure you and offer whatever programs and support your child needs.

Tutor Training at Windy Row Learning Center

Teachers from all over the Monadnock Region come to Windy Row for our specialized tutor training, which provides 6 continuing education credits from Keene State College. More intense than our One-in-Ten early identification program, which is a 2-hour workshop, tutor training involves 45 hours of seminars and 100 hours of supervised tutoring of a child.

Many of these tutors eventually become professional after-school tutors at Windy Row Learning Center in West Peterborough, NH. But many more return to their school districts and classrooms with Orton-Gillingham skills to help struggling readers. In this way, Windy Row reaches out to children throughout New Hampshire. Some teachers who attended our tutor training are now reading specialists in their school districts.

Tutor training is important to us for three reasons. First, we ensure that we have qualified, highly trained tutors for the children who need us. We are always concerned when we have a waiting list simply because not enough tutors are available. Second, more teachers become aware of Windy Row and how effective we are, so they can direct children to us if needed. Third, through Windy Row's tutor training program, the Orton-Gillingham techniques enter classrooms that we cannot reach, far outside of the Monadnock Region. We are proud of and thankful for every teacher who takes our teacher training.

If you are interested in more information about our tutor training, please visit the Tutors page on our website or info [at] windyrow.org (contact) us today.

Summer Camp at Windy Row: Reading, Math, & Fun

Windy Row's 4-4-4 Summer Camp is unique to the Monadnock Region. We offer 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, 4 weeks of fun, reading help, fun, executive functioning skills, fun, and support for children with reading challenges, such as dyslexia. If your child is behind grade level in reading, our 4-4-4 program is designed to give him or her a summer boost, to strengthen skills and add new ones.

We also address math skills for those who are falling behind grade level in math.

Our program is based on a Tufts University summer program, and our experienced tutors are ready with activities that keep children engaged and happy. We also offer limited one-on-one tutoring designed to fit in with your family's summer schedule.

info [at] windyrow.org (Contact) us now to enroll your child in our 4-4-4 Program or to discuss one-on-one tutoring over the summer.

What Parents Can Learn from Adults with Reading Challenges

Throughout the stories we've heard from adults with dyslexia and other reading challenges, one common thread runs: They are extremely grateful to the one adult who believed in them when they were children.

That belief could have taken several forms. The adult might have been a teacher who set aside special one-on-one time to work with the child. It might have been someone who simply said "you will succeed." As much as parents would like to be that adult, it doesn't always work that way. Not because of a failure of parenting, but because children, like the rest of us, embrace the offer of help when they are ready. We just have to keep offering.

Another common thread we hear is: Back in those days, there weren't any schools like Windy Row; people didn't know about dyslexia.

In many areas of the country that was true. In fact, in some areas, it is still true. That's why Windy Row Learning Center takes its mission so seriously. We are the only organization in the Monadnock Region dedicated to helping children with reading challenges like dyslexia. We're here to add our voice to yours and to help your child succeed. info [at] windyrow.org (Contact) us today.

Windy Row Thanks Our Donors

Every year we receive donations from individuals throughout the Monadnock Region and beyond who realize the importance of the work we do, teaching children to read. The specialized one-on-one tutoring we offer requires dedicated, professionally trained tutors, a location that we rent, phone and internet service, supplies and other expenses.

Our sliding scale for tuition covers some of these costs; thanks to our donors, we can reduce tuition for families who cannot afford it.

We also receive grants from wonderful organizations and foundations like the New Hampshire Charitable Fund, Target, Markem-Imaje, the Kiwanis Club, Masons and Rotary, and the Keith M. Sullivan Foundation. These generous organizations and foundations also enable us to offer scholarships and financial aid, and they provide funding for specialized programs like our One-in-Ten program and our summer program.

We are so thankful to all our donors. They help bring wonder and joy to a child who has finally learned to read. That is a marvelous, life-redeeming moment.

For more information about our donors, please see this year's first quarter newsletter where you may find other articles of interest. You can sign up to receive our newsletters by mail: Please visit Newsletters on our website.

What Parents Need to Know about Reading Challenges

Here are the top ten "need to know's" for parents:

  1. Often children hide their inability to read out of shame or confusion (they know they are different; they don't know why) and often dyslexia is misdiagnosed as a behavioral issue.
  2. If your child is falling further and further behind grade level, a reading challenge may be the cause.
  3. Children can be identified well before second grade. Early identification allows for early intervention.
  4. Dyslexia is not about reversing letters, although that can happen. There are many other signs (for example, being unable to say the alphabet in order) and each child is different.
  5. Children may "read a little" but still be reading so slowly that they get worn out before an assignment is finished. They may not be able to explain what they have just read. They may struggle to the point of tears with putting their thoughts down on paper. They may be unable read or spell a word the same way twice in the exact same sentence. These are all signs of a reading challenge, including dyslexia.
  6. Don't get hung up on labels. Trust your instincts. There is no drawback to speaking with someone at Windy Row. We are here to help, with advice, financial aid and referrals.
  7. Children are helped by one-on-one tutoring as little as two hours a week--as we prove over and over again at Windy Row Learning Center. But they need specialized, structured, individualized tutoring based on one of the nationally recognized programs, such as Orton-Gillingham.
  8. Windy Row Learning Center works with children from preschool through grade 10. It is never too late to contact us.
  9. Dyslexia is not a bar to success in life. In fact, more than a third of highly successful entrepreneurs are dyslexic--along with actors, artists, researchers, inventors and even writers!
  10. As a parent, especially if you are home schooling, you may want to consider participating in our One in Ten program, which explains how to identify dyslexia early on. Please info [at] windyrow.org (contact us) if you would like our program to come to your homeschooling association or school district.

Different Is Defining: Words of Wisdom from an Adult with Dyslexia

Dyslexia can be not easily seeing what others see, or it can be having a different point of view.  How you perceive it can give you weights or wings.  Picasso, Leonardo DaVinci , Einstein, and Edison were dyslexic, yet we celebrate the fact that they saw things differently and because they did the world changed for everyone else.  In overcoming the difficulties that dyslexia can bring, often in early life, a person also learns skills and mechanisms that other are not aware of.  Everyone knows that when you confront and overcome a challenge you become a changed person.  You gain in confidence.  Your abilities are enhanced. You find out who you are.

Being dyslexic does not mean you have to be climbing out of a hole that no one else seems to be bothered by.  It can mean instead that you have a point of view from an angle that others are blind to.  A personal vision of that nature is a great gift.  It still takes the same effort that we are all called on upon to make that vision a reality.  But your particular vision is one of a kind, only limited by what you choose to do with it.  You define dyslexia more than it defines you.

Everyone is given a lump of clay and they have to shape it into a lifetime.  Only a few are gifted with a viewpoint and tools to imagine what they can do with that clay.  After the struggles with reading or math your vision and tools will be your reward for a lifetime.

Terry L Lantz, 63-year-old dyslexic

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