Well it’s official, my daughter is a poet. This year has marked a major change in how Kendra’s feels about writing. A positive change, something I was sure would never happen.
Everything changed in October 2009, once she was diagnosed with Dyslexia . She hated writing, cried on the mornings she had to go into school knowing it was spelling test day.
I knew we had accomplished a lot when she finally wanted to read on her own.But spelling still was not something she could do. Learning to read had been a four-year struggle of me battling the school to get her tested for dyslexia, the school telling me the tests were inconclusive and she wasn’t dyslexic, and then finally being told that they (the school) would never diagnose her as dyslexic because they “Just wouldn’t.) Her teachers, the reading specialist, nobody could teach her how to read, no matter how hard they tried. And they did try! Everyone was getting frustrated, most of all Kendra.
In March of 2008, I heard about a program from a mom in town. She was like, “really, try it. It works.”
So we did.
It is called Kumon and it did work!
Every Wednesday for a year, we drove to Norwich, VT and Kendra worked on new reading skills, made slow progress, and came home and worked 20-30 minutes of everyday, of every week, practicing and working on her worksheets. She did it when she was sure she would never be any good at reading, she was diligent, and then she hit a wall. No amount of practice sheets or repetition seemed to help her reading advance. Through the tears, she kept plugging away. She wanted to be a reader!
Suddenly, one day it all clicked. (It was amazing. I actually saw the light bulb above her head blink on!) Kendra figured out how to compensate for her dyslexia, and overcame the dyslexic obstacles preventing her from reading. To this day she can’t explain how she figured it all out, she just did. Now, two years later, she is an avid reader, who cannot spell at all. I don’t know how she does it, but it is amazing!
Kendra keeps trying though. She writes her own poetry and stories, and spell check is her pal. On most days, writing is all done with a pencil, and on these days she is still frustrated. She has to go back and read what she has written, which is hellish for her. It’s not easy to read her writing, everything looks the same to her. Phonetically spelled words are never written the same way twice. It’s hard work. But, she keeps trying and this is why I am so proud of her.
The poem below is beautiful, just like Kendra. Here it is:
What If Trees Had No Leaves
By Kendra Johnson
What if trees had no leaves?
They would look bare,
shiver in the cold,
look lonely, like all their best friends
will never come back.
And everything would darken in the snow,
Finally, the snow melts,
The leaves don’t come back.
Though it is lighter than in winter,
The trees were yearning for their leaves.
After crying a hundred tears of missing them,
the trees finally go silent.