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A Springboard to Success

Sometimes, challenges can become a springboard to success. Hugh, an 11-year-old student from Stonington, CT, can attest to this.

Currently in fifth grade, Hugh has mastered reading, writing, and spelling, earning marks well above his grade level. He excels in all subjects, from science and math to composition, but this wasn’t the case four years ago. In fact, Hugh was held back in first grade because he lacked literacy skills. His worried mom, Kim, knew this was a blow to his self-confidence. 

At that time, Hugh’s literacy challenges ran deep: decoding, encoding, and automaticity were all difficult. In particular, he didn’t know how to pair letters with sounds, so reading connected text was nearly impossible. 

That’s when Wilson® Credentialed Trainer and Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist Jeanne Morgan stepped in. Jeanne, a public school teacher and private Wilson Reading System® (WRS) tutor, was highly recommended by mutual friends.

“Upon meeting Hugh, conducting several preassessments, and reviewing his diagnostic file, it was evident that he’s extremely bright with a love of learning,” said Jeanne. “He’s articulate, animated, and owns a smile that can warm any heart, and I knew Wilson Reading System would be a bridge to reaching his potential.”

Jeanne also could tell that Hugh had gaps in his orthographic and phonological skills and didn’t know many high-frequency words. However, his listening skills were above grade level.

“He was an auditory sponge, and that set him up to be successful with the WRS program,” explained Jeanne.

Beginning in January 2018, Hugh and Jeanne met for an hour twice a week. They worked during school breaks and increased their time together in the summers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they sat outside at a table Hugh’s parents set up in the backyard, wearing coats, hats, and scarves to fight off winter’s chill. When it was too cold to be outside, they met virtually. Regardless of the setting, Hugh gave 150 percent effort.

Hugh enjoyed the time he spent with Jeanne as much as he enjoyed mastering literacy skills. If there was ever a time they couldn’t meet, Hugh would ask when he’d see Jeanne again. The pair worked together for three years and completed all 12 Steps of WRS in January 2021.

“In the beginning, Hugh was frustrated by this one piece of himself, feeling ashamed and embarrassed of his struggles,” shared Jeanne. “However, when he started to see the instruction work, that’s when he soared.”

Hugh now excels in all his studies; English is his favorite subject. The skills and learning he received during WRS instruction have helped him in other classes. For example, where he once struggled with math word problems, he now finds success. His mom says the positive change in his attitude toward school and his peers is remarkable.

“For me, the biggest change in school would be my confidence in myself to be able to do reading-related work on my own,” said Hugh. “I became much more independent. In 2nd and 3rd grade, I always had to ask a friend or a teacher anything about this and that. But I noticed that in 4th and 5th grade, I barely had to ask anything (not saying asking questions is bad). Wilson helped me by making me more independent in reading and writing, and most importantly, it made me a better person to be around.”

In the end, Hugh’s reading challenges didn’t slow him down or stop him. Instead, his experiences launched him into an exciting new territory where reading isn’t only possible—it’s enjoyable. Congratulations on your accomplishments, Hugh!