Connecticut teenager Mackenzie P. is celebrating two academic milestones this year: She graduated from eighth grade and earned her Wilson Reading System (WRS) Certificate of Completion. Her WRS instructor, Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist (W.D.T.) Amy Geary, recently shared Mackenzie’s inspiring story.
My student Mackenzie was identified as having dyslexia when she was in second grade. She was extremely reserved and when asked to read aloud, she did so haltingly. Additionally, her writing was full of errors. Although a variety of approaches and instructional programs were used to remediate her reading difficulties throughout the elementary years, Mackenzie continued to struggle.
When Mackenzie transitioned to middle school, her individualized education program (IEP) team provided WRS instruction. Lessons began immediately, which meant Mackenzie had to give up a portion of her summer to attend tutoring sessions. To put it mildly, she was not happy. Although she was always polite, her demeanor was somber whenever she walked into the classroom.
That fall, Mackenzie’s WRS instruction became part of her regular class schedule. Within a couple of months, her reading and writing skills improved and she was reading words more accurately and fluently. By the end of her first year, she could read longer passages, both decodable and non-controlled. Her spelling improved and her writing became more elaborate.
This improvement was evident to everyone, including herself. Mackenzie’s demeanor changed from shy and downcast to lively and cheerful. As she progressed through the program, she quickly learned WRS procedures and strategies.
To further develop her literacy skills, Mackenzie continued WRS instruction year-round. Even though the past year required a hybrid schedule consisting of remote and in-person classes, she continued to be an active learner. She remained steadfast in her goals: to do her best and complete the entire program.
When I think about Mackenzie’s reading abilities when we first met compared to where they are today, I am in awe of her. As a Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist, I know Wilson works—especially when students actively participate and take ownership of their learning. She is the epitome of an active learner.
I believe Mackenzie’s reading and writing skills have improved because of her inner drive to work through her struggles. It is to her credit that she started her middle school years with WRS Step 1 and has ended them completing Step 12. She is truly an inspiration!
Thank you for sharing Mackenzie’s story, Amy. Wilson wishes her all the best in the school year ahead.