Hope for Students with Reading Difficulties (and Their Parents)

Thank you to Fundamental Learning Center for sponsoring this post and offering educational support for Wichita kids and families!

Piper, age 5, confidently marched through the hallway at Fundamental Learning Center’s Rolph Literacy Academy this summer, stopping to hug every adult she encountered.

As she walked, she pointed out the art projects on the wall she had created. She stopped to  show off what she had learned in math, naming her geometric shapes with her math teacher.

“I love my school,” she said.

Piper’s easy grin and outgoing mannerism are contagious.

It is difficult to believe that less than one year ago, Piper’s enthusiasm about school was non-existent. Until she began attending the Fundamental Learning Center in the middle of the fall 2016 semester, she hardly wanted to talk about school when she got home. And if you know Piper, a lack of conversation signals something just isn’t right.

Discovering Dyslexia

Kelsi Hope came home from her daughter’s parent-teacher conference feeling defeated. Piper was enrolled in kindergarten, and her teacher had just informed Kelsi that Piper did not know any of the sight words taught in class.

In fact, that teacher did not have many positive words to say about Piper. She was easily distracted. She was “immature” for her age and had “behavior problems.”

“I thought, ‘Piper is so smart,’” Kelsi said. “And if you can’t tell, there is something wrong with you, not Piper.”

That is when Kelsi and Piper turned to Fundamental Learning Center.

Kelsi suspected her daughter might have dyslexia, a specific learning difference that is characterized by difficulties with accurate word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.  

While children with dyslexia struggle with reading, writing and spelling, research has proven they also demonstrate strengths in visual and spatial abilities. Often, today’s schools are so focused on reading ability that they ignore the multitude of strengths — or super powers — the dyslexic students exhibit in areas like science, art and problem solving.

Within a week of the negative parent-teacher conference, Kelsi had her daughter assessed by Fundamental Learning Center’s director of dyslexia screening. She then enrolled her in FLC’s Rolph Literacy Academy.

Three days after starting at RLA, Piper’s grandmother Tammi Hope said Piper was transformed.

“She came to a place where they looked at her and saw her for the person she is,” Tammi said. “She is high-energy, highly social, creative, spontaneous. She is really inquisitive and curious. All of those things were squelched at her first school and encouraged at FLC. The multisensory teaching used her strengths to tap into the intellect we knew was there.”

A New Love for School

Kelsi was able to correctly identify Piper’s struggle because, like 20 percent of Americans, Kelsi also has dyslexia. Dyslexia is genetic, and specific teaching strategies help children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties learn to read successfully. Kelsi did not want the same negative school experiences she had in school for her child.

The staff at Fundamental Learning Center is highly trained in the researched, effective methods of teaching students with reading difficulties. FLC Co-Founder and Executive Director Jeanine Phillips has dedicated her life to helping children with dyslexia learn easier.

“At Fundamental Learning Center, we focus on the whole child and approach that child from a healthy educational view vs. focusing on the weakness,” Phillips said. “Dyslexia is a gift, not a disadvantage.”

Students who attend FLC participate in music, art, drama, movement and other classes many of these students excel in due to their dyslexia-related super powers. Core classes are taught with a multi-sensory approach, catering to the learning style of many dyslexic students. And perhaps most importantly, they receive the instruction they need in reading.

Kelsi noticed the difference in Piper immediately when she started at RLA.

“She was happy and excited when she got home,” Kelsi said. “She wanted to tell me about her day and share the things she had learned.”

And she was learning a lot. Piper now reads on or above grade level and can complete math assignments independently. 

“At RLA, she is going to be able to learn skills and seeds for skills she can use to teach herself throughout her lifetime,” Kelsi said.

Learn More About Fundamental Learning Center

If you have a child like Piper who struggles with reading skills and has “super powers” in other areas, contact Fundamental Learning Center at 316.684.READ (7323) or visit funlearn.org!

When you call the center, you can schedule an appointment with our highly trained Director of Dyslexia Screening. Next, you will have options to help your child, including:

• lecture series

• parent and teacher education courses

• enrolling in our full-time school, Rolph Literacy Academy  

• recommendations for a private tutor for your child.

Kristin Bogner is the director of marketing and communications at Fundamental Learning Center. As mom to Ruby and Violet and step-mom to Maddox and Afton, she truly understands the importance of reading for lifelong learning. After more than a decade of teaching high school journalism in the Wichita area and many freelance marketing opportunities, she is thrilled to promote an organization that helps struggling readers find hope.


Wichita Mom
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